Xbox Creator Says He Almost Got Fired for Comparing Gaming to Masturbating

The video game industry has come a long way over the years, particularly in the two decades since the original Xbox was first released. Gaming has become far more mainstream, and it's much more socially acceptable for older gamers to enjoy the hobby. In the fall of 2001, Xbox creator Seamus Blackley spoke to reporter Dina Bass about the broad appeal of gaming, despite the fact that not everyone is open about it. Blackley likened gaming to masturbating, stating that "everybody does it, nobody wants to talk about it." Blackley's comment shows how much perceptions of gaming have changed, but apparently not everyone was laughing! Blackley revealed on Twitter that "this quote nearly got me fired from Microsoft."

"It was mainly that the quote appeared in the east side journal and some conservative spouses of executives read it and… I was summoned to building 4 shall we say," Blackley wrote on Twitter.

Clearly, Microsoft did not go through with Blackley's termination, and the original Xbox released shortly thereafter. The console helped to contribute to shifting perceptions on gaming, and the Xbox brand continues to thrive as part of the video game industry. Blackley left Microsoft in 2002, but has remained an active part of the video game industry, in a number of different roles. Last month, Blackley weighed-in on problems with sexual harassment on Xbox Live, pushing for greater support from Microsoft, as well as the overall gaming community.

For younger gamers, the idea of gaming being a hobby that players enjoyed in secret probably seems unusual! Gaming has become a huge part of the mainstream, and the age range of players is greater than ever before. As publishers like Microsoft continue to find ways to appeal to players of all ages, it seems like a safe bet the pool of gamers will continue to grow. The days of gamers having to feel ashamed about doing it are long in the past, thankfully enough!

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Were you once ashamed to show your passion for gaming? Do you you think gaming has become a more socially acceptable hobby? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!