CyberPlayGround, MEGA and the other awful scrapped original Xbox names

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original-xbox-top.pngWith the world gearing up for the release of the third generation Xbox console, the Xbox One, Microsoft’s gaming moniker is as recognisable and evocative as the Gameboy or PlayStation. Hear the word “Xbox” and you’re instantly thinking of videogames.

But it could have been oh so very different, as Seamus Blackley (key member of the original Xbox launch team) told Edge:

“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 even with Xbox on the tip of the team’s tongues, it still took plenty more deliberation, and some godawful naming suggestions, before the console was finally christened:

“Phase four was a battle between us and the naming guys, when we decided we just wanted to risk it and go with Xbox. 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…”

Edge’s full Xbox “making of” feature is a great read and can be found here – perfect sunny weekend tablet reading. The full list of dire Xbox names (or at least those with just enough merit to be remembered!) are as follows:

– 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)
– 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)

Gerald Lynch