GAMING BLEND

Rejected Xbox Names Included CyberPlayGround, Optical Odyssey

By Pete Haas 2013-07-07 11:27:26 discussion comments
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Whatever you think of the name "Xbox," the alternatives would have been far worse. Seamus Blackley, part of the launch team for Microsoft's first console, revealed that the company considered many terrible, terrible names for the hardware.

The console was initially referred to with a series of codenames. From the sound of things, the title "Xbox" emerged early in the process.

“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," Blackley told Edge.

Unfortunately, Xbox didn't seem like a feasible name due to legal issues. The team was then provided with a long list of car-like names. Blackley says they were so terrible that they didn't save the list for posterity. I wonder if Durango was one of them.

After that, Microsoft's 'naming guys' began to send over acronym names. Blackley's team won out and was able to keep the name "Xbox." However, for chuckle, here's a sample of list of the rejected names:
- VIC (Virtual Interactive Center – disks/games could be called VICs)
- MARZ (Microsoft Active Reality Zone)
- TSO (Three, Six, Zero)
- EHQ (Entertainment Headquarters)
- O2 (Optimal Ozone or Optical Odyssey)
- MIC (Microsoft Interactive Center)
- R&R (Reality and Revolution)
- MEA (Microsoft Entertainment Activator)
- AMP (Active Microsoft Player)
- VPS (Virtual Play System)
- MAP (Microsoft Action Play)
- MEGA (Microsoft Entertainment & Gaming Attendant or Microsoft Entertainment & Gaming Assembly)
- CPG (CyberPlayGround)
- VERV (Virtual Entertainment & Reality Venture)
- OM (Odyssey of the Mind)
- P2 (PowerPlay)
- IS1 (Interactive System In One)
- MET (Microsoft Entertainment Technology or Microsoft Entertainment Theatre)

Odyssey of the Mind and Optical Odyssey are deliciously terrible. Still, it's easy to make fun of them from the cheap seats. Before you mock Microsoft's rejected names, come up with a list of ten of your own console names. Here's my list:
  • Videogame BoxMachineCenterHub
  • GameThing
  • Playomatic 5000
  • Your Only Friend
  • ElectroVideoDevicer
  • Better Than Wii, PlayStation 3 And Xbox 360 Combined
  • PlayPlayPlay
  • Box o' Gameage
  • Gameophone
  • Funville, Population: You
Point is, names are hard. They all sound stupid and awkward at first. You just have to hope that whatever you're naming turns out to be good. In time, the name will grow on people. The Wii seemed like a stupid name at first but now it rolls off the tongue. Blue Ivy sounds foolish now but when she gets elected High Emperor of the post-apocalyptic remains of North America, we won't be laughing. Probably because we'll be too busy hoarding water and fighting off mutant dogs.

The most interesting titles on that list are "Three, Six, Zero" and "Interactive System In One." It's clear that Microsoft kept those two rejected names in their back pocket for when it came time to name the next two consoles: Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The old adage is true: "If at first you don't succeed, wait until the guy who hated your proposed name to leave so you can push it through for the next console."
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