If you thought Xbox was a strange name, it could have been a lot worse.
If you’d never heard of the console, what would you think if you heard the word “Xbox”? Chances are, you’d probably image a discarded cardboard box, or if you’re the creative type, some kind of stack of boxes that forms an “X.” And still others would be thinking of something … a bit naughty. You certainly wouldn’t think of video games, unless you were looking for a low budget place to stash your collection.
The name Xbox came from a truncation of the phrase DirectX Box, or a console capable of running PC graphics. Initially, Microsoft’s lawyers didn’t like it, either. Other suggestions had been FACE, MVPC (the acronym for Microsoft Videogame PC just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), and for some strange reason, 11-X.
Of course, gamers these days thinking of how Microsoft keeps shooting themselves in the foot over the Xbox One would probably joke that the “11” stands for bankruptcy, or Chapter 11. After all, if Microsoft keeps insisting on thinking they know better than gamers what we want, they could be in for some hard times financially. PlayStation 4 is still on top of the reputation scale, with even the Wii U looking better than the Xbox One.
Of course, talking like that could land you in with the trolls on Xbox Live, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Maybe not, but who knows?
At one point, it was even suggested that the Xbox should be called MEGA. Sega would certainly have been uneasy about that one, considering the Japanese version of the Genesis was called the Mega Drive. In an era where companies like Apple tend to be involved in lawsuits over ideas more often than some people change their socks, it is definitely not a good idea to accidentally name your console after that of a previous rival.
Seamus Blackley and the Xbox launch team had quite a few suggestions, which he commented on:
“First, there were our code names, which were WEP – ‘Windows Entertainment Project’ – designed to make Microsoft executives comfortable, Midway – ‘Midway between a PC and a console or ‘Battle of Midway’ – you decide – and DirectX Box, which was shortened to xbox in email very early on. When we got the first approval, Kevin [Bachus] was told we had to get a new name, because ‘xbox’ wasn’t legally sound, so against his judgment he did so, and got the phase two, or ‘car’ names. These were so bad we didn’t even save them, but I remember making fun of one of them by calling it the ‘Microsoft Bunduss’. Then we got the ‘acronym’ phase from the naming geniuses. Phase four was a battle between us and the naming guys, when we decided we just wanted to risk it and go with Xbox – since that’s what everyone called it anyway – and they wanted, for some unknowable reason, to call it ‘11-X’ or ‘Eleven-X’. Finally, we told them no, but still had to decide: X-Box, xBox, XboX, Xbox, X-box…”
After a long line of ridiculous names and borderline trademark violations, it was finally decided that it should be the Xbox.
What do you think of the previous names they had in mind for Xbox? Do you have any favorites?