Xbox 8 unlikely to be the final name for Microsoft’s next console

04 Jul 2012 By Tom Reed

The more you look, the less it looks right

Microsoft recently won the rights to the domain names Xbox8.us and Xbox.org from a native of China. This news has put a cat among the pigeons for media outlets who were, until now, expecting the company to stick with the name Xbox 720.

On the subject of registering further domain names XboxPhone.com, XboxTablet.com, XboxLiveTV.com and XboxCompanion.com the industry heavy hitters had this to say:

 “Microsoft often acquires various domain names as part of its on-going business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment.” – Microsoft

A classic industry statement from Microsoft confirms nothing or perhaps something depending on how you choose to take it. Having swallowed more than a few of these non-statements I for one am not inclined to bite. It is almost certain “Xbox 8″ will not be the name that appears on your retail receipt come launch day and here’s why.

If Microsoft’s lacklustre E3 outing gave us anything it was the Smart-Glass. The tech connects Windows 8 tablet/phone based applications to the upcoming console. This connectivity will of course expand to the inevitable Windows 8 OS for PC. For this reason the acquisition of domain names connected to the OS name “8” seems like a no-brainer.

Windows Mobile 8 connecting to Xbox.

If this wasn’t enough to dissuade some individuals from getting Xbox 8 tattooed on their arm they should consider the importance of the brand name. The 360 number is synonymous with Microsoft’s console and keeping the numerical distinction in the name of the next generation is sure to maintain consumer recognition.

There is also the fact that 2011’s Reel Steel has already subliminally treated moviegoers to the brand name 720. This blink and miss it moment could well have been part of an on-going strategy to gain traction in the minds of family oriented consumers.

How much does product placement cost in films anyway?

Altering the name of Xbox 720 (even on a fake add in a film) to “8″ could confuse casual purchasers and that’s the opposite of Microsoft’s plan for instant recognition.

Finally, there is the issue of silly code-names. Every product ever released has had a fairly bizarre placeholder name so as to wow trade show audiences with the final name closer to launch.  The 720 has already been given the moniker ‘Durango’ so another codename change so soon is unlikely.

The reason why we all call it Xbox 720 without even bothering to correct ourselves is because Microsoft has already implanted it in our minds. The brand is fermenting in our brains ready to be corked sometime in 2014. Until then Microsoft will surely smile behind closed doors at the speculation train that ultimately helps push awareness of their product.

Do you think the name 720 won’t stick? perhaps you prefer the idea of Xbox Infinity? Sound off in the comments below.

This article was written by Tom Reed. Follow harass him on twitter and/or head over to Hard Reset on Facebook.

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