We are now less than three weeks away from Microsoft's Xbox press event in Redmond, Washington, where the company is highly expected to reveal the first details on its third generation game console on May 21st. One of the biggest mysteries about the product is: What will the company actually name the console when it is officially launched?
There's been a ton of different names that have been rumored for the console, but the only thing we seem to know for sure is that during development, Microsoft referred to the next Xbox by the code name Durango. We know this because someone decided to sell a Durango SDK on eBay several months ago.
It's highly unlikely Microsoft will sell the console under the Durango code name, but it's almost certain that the word "Xbox" will show up somewhere. The Xbox branding has been highly successful for the company and has even spilled over into other divisions such as Windows, where it has been used for Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Xbox Games for Windows 8.
So, what other choices does Microsoft hav for naming its next game console? It's time to go over the ones that have the most rumored buzz, and one or two might surprise you.
Microsoft's logo for the original 2001 Xbox console
Yes, just Xbox. That seems to be the leading candidate for what Microsoft will call its next game console. The recently cancelled Xbox World print magazine posted up a huge article for its next-to-last issue in November where it stated that Microsoft will simply use Xbox for the hardware.
It's simple, it's straightforward and, as we have said before, the Xbox brand is already well known. Even though the current generation console is officially called the Xbox 360, many owners already refer to it as the Xbox, without the "360" suffix.
Odds of "Xbox" as the name: 8 out of 10
This name has come up in the past as a possible candidate, mostly because, as Fusible pointed out this week, Microsoft currently controls a number of website domains that have a version of Xbox Fusion in the URL. Yet Microsoft has made no indications on why they have bought all these domain names for this particular label.
So what does all of this domain name activity really mean? Microsoft clearly has something in the works with the name "Xbox Fusion" in mind. However, it's also possible that Xbox Fusion is being used for a product related to the game console, such as a new online service or something else. We actually like the idea of the console itself being called Xbox Fusion, but we are not sure if Microsoft would want to place that name on one of its biggest consumer products.
Odds of "Xbox Fusion" as the name: 5 out of 10
This is another name that's come up in the past for the console, and it got new life earlier this week when a supposed leaked image with the infinity symbol next to "Xbox" made its way on Reddit and Twitter. Quite frankly, both this "leaked" image and the name itself sound like something a 10 year old might come up with. We would be very surprised if Microsoft picked this brand as the name for its next console.
Odds of "Xbox Infinity" as the name: 1 out of 10
The name has apparently been used by Microsoft itself. Several months ago, an old internal document about the company's future plans made its way to the Internet and the presentation referred to the console as the Xbox 720. More recently, online resumes for team members at Ubisoft showed that Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4 were being made for "X720".
While this would seem to be strong evidence, the most likely scenario is that Xbox 720 was most likely used by Microsoft as an easy way to make the console sound different than the Xbox 360 when it was making its first pitches to game developers. As with Xbox Infinity, we think it's highly unlikely Microsoft will put the Xbox 720 name on the final product when it is released.
Odds of "Xbox 720" as the name: 1 out of 10
As you might have guessed, we are thinking that the odds Microsoft will just call its next game console "Xbox" are pretty good, but based on the amount of its domain name purchases, "Xbox Fusion" has a decent shot as well. However, we have been surprised before when it comes to game console names. No one predicted Microsoft would call its second console the Xbox 360 or that Nintendo would label one of its products the Wii.
It's still possible that Microsoft could come up with a name completely out of left field, but we think ultimately they will just play it safe. We should get the final word in just 20 more days.
Images via Microsoft and Forbes