Xbox Creator Nearly Got Fired After Saying Gaming Is Like Masturbating

Xbox Creator Nearly Got Fired After Saying Gaming Is Like Masturbating
Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Back in 2001, one of the key creators behind the original Xbox console, Seamus Blackley, compared gaming to masturbating. Apparently, this didn’t go over well with Bill Gates and other high-ranking Microsoft execs. According to Blackley, he nearly got fired for the quote.

Recently on Twitter, someone pointed out a quote from Bloomberg journalist Dina Bass which read, “Gaming is like masturbation. Everybody does it, nobody wants to talk about it.” She responded to the person on Twitter and explained that she had to give credit to Seamus Blackey, often called the father of the Xbox, who originally said that quote all the way back in 2001. In response to that tweet, Blackley explained that he nearly got fired for that quote.

In 2001, Blackley was giving an interview a few weeks before the launch of the Xbox. And in the interview, he said the infamous quote: “Gaming is like masturbation. Everybody does it, nobody wants to talk about it.”

Blackley explained that the main reason he got in so much trouble was that the quote ended up in the East Side Journal. “ And some conservative spouses of [Microsoft] executives read it,” recounted Blackley, “And I was summoned to building 4 shall we say.”

As spotted by Gamespot, this isn’t the first time Blackley has joked about the infamous quote. In 2019, he explained why he said it.

“It was an argument for multiplayer [gaming] online, which Xbox was a pioneer in,” said Blackley. However, the context didn’t matter. Apparently, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were “VERY upset” about the quote.

Of course, Blackley wasn’t fired and helped Microsoft successfully launch the original Xbox and while that initial console didn’t do nearly as well as the PS2, later Xbox consoles have been far more successful. Now, Microsoft’s Xbox division is so large that its buying up Activision and Bethesda-sized companies in order to feed its wildly popular Netflix-like service, Game Pass.