Mystery Slot in Xbox Series X Packaging

In the video game console market, I am definitely on Team Green of the pie chart going all the way back to the original Xbox. Right now, the Xbox hardware product line is split into two: the expensive Series X with maximum power and the Series S which made design tradeoffs for affordability. Supplies of both were hampered by global electronics supply chain disruption at launch. I wanted a Series X but I didn’t want it badly enough to pay a scalper premium. The Series S got sorted out and has been widely available for several months, and I was happy to find that the supply of Series X is just starting to catch up to demand. During this year’s Black Friday sales season when everyone was out looking for discounts, I was just happy to find Series X available at all for list price. (There were discounts on Series S, but I was not interested.)

When I flipped opened the box, I was happy to see that Microsoft put some design effort into its packaging. The unboxing experience isn’t up to the premium bar set by Apple & others but a far step above the “sufficient and practical” packaging of past Xbox consoles. The console itself is front and center, wrapped like a gift under a “Power Your Dreams” banner. A cardboard box behind the console held a power cable, a 4K120FPS capable HDMI cable, and a single Xbox controller complete with a pair of AA batteries.

Underneath the console, between two blocks of packaging foam, is a piece of cardboard. This turned out to be a “Getting Started” card for those too impatient to read a manual.

The bottom of that card has a fold, and a rounded slot was cut out of it. Why is it shaped like that?

Making this fold and cutting out that slot consumed manufacturing time and money. This was definitely an intentional design choice, but I can’t tell what its purpose could be. The information printed on the card is specific to Series X, so the cutout wouldn’t have been used elsewhere and just went unused here. I thought maybe it was supposed to help hold it somewhere in the box so we could see it when we flipped it open, but this card was just lying in the bottom of my box. The “Power Your Dreams” banner is front and center, so that’s not the location for this card and (2) I don’t see anything for that slot to fit onto elsewhere.

The rest of the package is too well thought-out for this slot cutout to have been an accident, yet it went unused. I can smell a story here, and I am fascinated, but I have to accept that I will never know the answer.

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