Talking about the name of Xbox 360?

One of my friend say the Xbox  was named 360 because it was the first console to have wireless controllers and it competed with the PlayStation 3.

I think It was called the Xbox 360 because it was meant to compete with the PlayStation 3,  But i don’t think the wireless controllers have anything to do with it, or any other technical feature, really, That’s not how branding really works.

If i had to take a guess, i’d say tis is how it went:

  • You can’t name it Xbox 2 because Sony is about to release the PlayStation 3. Naming it Xbox “2” will make it sound less advanced than the competition. So you need the name to start with a number no lesser than 3…(yeah, that sounds silly, until you remember that Apple named the 2nd gen iPhone “iPhone 3G” for that exact same reason)
  • The one thing people didn’t like that much about the original Xbox was its design: big, chunky, squarish…in japan they simply hated that thing. So the new brand has to get rid of any reminiscence of that. ¿what sounds opposite to a square box? ¿a circle, maybe? wasn’t the guide button on the original one a circle already? yeah people liked the guide button didn’t they?
  • Ok, we have something that starts with a 3, and the idea of a circle, or better yet, a sphere (smooth, not ugly) so…you add the two concepts, you get 360 degrees in a circle. Xbox 360. With a sphere as the logo.

As for the new one, many people think it will be named Xbox 720, but I don’t think so, 720 has no meaning. But when speculating what the new naming is going to be about, the question is not what the console will actually be but what Microsoft wants it to be for you, the consumer.

First of all, it has to be familiar. Not necessarily in a childish way, but rather in a non-techie way. Microsoft needs a name for the average household to be comfortable with. And you know what? they already have that name, they had it since 2001. People almost never refer to the Xbox 360 as “the 360”, but rather “The Xbox”. That’s familiar, and removing the suffix also removes part of the nerd factor.

And more importantly, it worked for Apple.

So i really think that they’ll call it just Xbox. The promotional material may refer to it as the “New” Xbox for a while, to avoid confusión, but after a while they’ll probably drop that moniker as well. How long that’ll take will depend on how long they plan to keep the old 360 on shelves (i’m guessing not much, it’s already 8 years old).

Also this time dropping the number altogether might work in their advantage. The competition is calling itself PlayStation 4, and that sort of implies “more of the same but with moar pixels’n stuff”, and this time Microsoft seems to be going for a “new thing” vibe.

Also, the new competition will be the likes of Netflix AppleTV and Roku, powerful brands in their simplicity. Don’t overcomplicate things when the competition isn’t.

As for the logo, i expect it to be consisitent with the new corporate image of Microsoft, a flat logo, one color (Green) and an X. Maybe something like the new Windows logo but in Green and diagonal lines instead of a cross.

It’s fun to imagine, we’ll find out son enough.

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