Naming things is really hard, guys — just ask anybody who started playing an MMO a week after everybody else. But, if you can imagine it, naming a high-profile consumer product is even hard than that, and Microsoft had a long list of acronyms they were looking at before they settled on the name “Xbox” way back when.
Edge had a chat with Seamus Blackley of the original Xbox team, and he passed along a list of truly absurd acronyms that you’d have a hard time believing a major corporation would come up with had that same corporation not assaulted us with “Kinect.” Anyway, look at this list.
MAX (Microsoft Action Experience)
AIO (All In One)
MIND (Microsoft Interactive Network Device)
FACE (Full Action Center)
MITH (Microsoft Interactive Theatre)
XON (Experience Optimised Network)
MVPC (Microsoft Virtual Play Center)
TAC (Total Action Center – discs/games could be called TACs)
MARC (Microsoft Action Reality Center)
LEX (Live Entertainment Experience)
M-PAC (Microsoft Play and Action Center)
RPM (Real Performance Machine)
MOX (Microsoft Optimal Experience)
E2 (Extreme Experience)
MTG (Microsoft Total Gaming)
VIP (Virtual Interactive Player)
PTP or P2P (Powered To Play)
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)
VERV (Virtual Entertainment & Reality Venture)
OM (Odyssey of the Mind)
IS1 (Interactive System In One)
MET (Microsoft Entertainment Technology or Microsoft Entertainment Theatre)
We eventually got used to “Wii,” so I’m sure we would have grown accustomed to any of these as well. But Xbox, which was shorthand for one of the console’s code names, DirectX Box, is clearly the best, because it actually sounds like an item. But, again, Wii and Kinect are words we say with a straight face now, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. In any case, this is fun to think about.
The Edge article linked above (and here) also has some cool tidbits from Blackley about the various phases they went through in the naming process, and it’s all quite humorous.
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