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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft originally planned to give away its first Xbox console for free. Or, at least, charge a nominal up-front free.

Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning revealed in an interview for GamesIndustry.biz that Microsoft wanted his development team on board in order to kill Nintendo's Mario franchise. And one of the ways to do that would be to give away the hardware.


"At the time, Xbox thought that the core market was going to be casual. They were going to be the casual gamers' machine. Now, that's why they approached us because they said 'we think you've got something that competes in that Mario space and we think Mario's the thing to kill'," Lanning explained.

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"'We see that space. We want that audience. We love Oddworld so why don't you get on this bandwagon? And we might give the box away'."

It was a philosphy that excited the developer. "'Look, if you're going to give the box away, you're going to win. If you're going to win, we want to be on board'," he added.

Sadly, that didn't happen and Microsoft decided to go had-to-head with the PlayStation 2 instead. But the idea didn't completely go away. A trial scheme for the Xbox 360 in the States priced the console and a Kinect sensor at $99 with a mobile-esque $15 monthly subscription fee to follow.

And it apparently considered doing something similar with the Xbox One. Potentially charging a monthly fee so users can upgrade hardware after a set period, much like they do their smartphones.

That's unlikely to happen now however.

Writing by Rik Henderson.