REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft doesn’t generally let its customers and fans show up and see where the Windows and Xbox sausage gets made. Should you wish to visit most of Microsoft’s campus buildings a few miles east of Seattle, you’ll need to arrange an official tour in advance, which typically requires being invited in a professional capacity.
But one of the company’s buildings has no such requirement: Building 92, which houses the company’s official Visitor Center and Company Store.
Every time I’ve driven across the region’s 520 toll bridge to visit Building 92, it’s been to see a press demo of new games or some tech in roped-off, invite-only meeting rooms. I’ve dipped into the store just briefly, marveled at some of its merch, and moved along. But this holiday season, I decided to finally carve out a few hours to take a closer look—and to confirm just how strange this capital-O “Official store” really is.