What’s That “X” In “Xbox” Anyway?

From Why This Certain Type Of Electromagnetic Radiation Is Called “X-Rays”? to What Does The “X” in Xmas Stand For? and The Interesting Story Of How “X” Came To Symbolize The Unknown, the letter “X” is by far the most intriguing letter of the English Alphabet.

So much so, that we write yet another article for it. So, we all know Xbox, but have you ever wondered what does that “X” stand for?

Well, wonder no more you useless info junkie – it’s time to find out. (the article continues after the ad)

According to an interview with Edge, Seamus Blackley, the man who eventually assembled the team that built the device, the name “Xbox” was just a short version of the code name “DirectX Box”. You see, before jumping into the console project, Blackley and his team were working on Microsoft’s DirectX graphics API. Of course, besides “DirectX Box” the team used several code names during the initial designing phase:

“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.”

But there was a problem with “Xbox” – it wasn’t legally sound:

 “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.”

Blackley recalls having a huge list of acronym-based names – all of them being complete “crap,” he says. So, without having a best alternative, the team decided to stick with Xbox:

“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…”

And who can blame them? I mean, here’s a list of the proposed names:

  • MAX (Microsoft Action Experience)
  • AIO (All In One)
  • MIND (Microsoft Interactive Network Device)
  • FACE (Full Action Center) – Yep, that’s FACE. Someone had the idea of naming the console Microsoft… FACE.
  • 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)
  • 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)

And now you know!

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is How A Mapmaker Messed Up Puerto Rico For Ever 

Photo: Marco Verch / FlickrWikimedia
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Thinking about Video Games: Interviews with the Experts | 11-X, WEP, Midway, CyberPlayGround, FACE – the rejected names for Microsoft’s first console

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