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TiCGN Exclusive: Xbox Marketer Albert Penello Shares His Journey Through the Gaming Industry

We recently had an interview with Xbox marketer and lead planner Albert Penello. In our very own, Inner Circle Podcast, Penello gives us an inside look at how the Xbox team develops and deploys its products for consumers around the world. Throughout the interview we dive into topics ranging from industry origins to the upcoming Scorpio. For the full audio podcast, tune into the Inner Circle Podcast hosted by Lenwood Henegan and Ivan AKA Anchorman.

During our sit-down, Albert Penello shared his entry into the world of video games. As a young college student in the year 1992, Penello found great interest in gaming and its various forms of media. Wanting a closer look at the new emerging entertainment industry, Penello sought out to take a look and tour what he thought would be a video game wonder land at Sega. Much to his dismay, it turned out to be a real business environment and was kicked out at the front door. As the young Penello pulled out of the parking lot, the blinding truth must have affected his senses as he ended up hitting a Sega employee’s car.

As fate would have it, the vehicle that was struck was of an employee who also went to the same college Penello went to and had lived in the same dorm room. This bond would be enough for the would be Xbox exec to find himself working at Sega answering telephone calls. From there, Penello worked up the ranks of Sega. He returned to college, joined EA, and was later recruited to work on a secret project called Xbox a year before its launch. The rest is indeed Xbox history.

Astonished by the humble beginnings, TiCGN couldn’t help but be curious and ask what was it like to work on the original Xbox. According to Penello, the start of his Xbox career was in his mid 20’s. Not shy to call it “fun” and “awesome”, Penello does admit that “A lot of people didn’t know what they were getting into.” It turns out he was one of the few who had actually worked in the gaming industry. The team was composed of “Microsoft guys”, “Microsoft guys who liked gaming”, and some industry people. Overall, Penello can’t help but feel blessed at being at the right place at the right time.

For more on the interview with Albert Penello, listen to the latest episode of the Inner Circle Podcast.


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