Microsoft introduced its first gaming console in late 2001 with the Xbox naming, but it could have been branded something entirely different by the company's marketing teams. In an interview with Edge Online, original launch team member Seamus Blackley reveals some of the names that Microsoft considered internally. Windows Entertainment Project (WEP) was one of the first, a name that would "make Microsoft executives comfortable," according to Blackley.
"Midway" was also considered, designed to be a bridge between PC and console. "DirectX Box," a nod to the company's gaming APIs, was another code name that ended up being "shortened to xbox in email very early on." Microsoft went through a number of naming phrases, including one based on car names and another acronym-based list. The acronyms included MTG (Microsoft Total Gaming), MIND (Microsoft Interactive Network Device), MIC (Microsoft Interactive Center), and a lot more.
An internal battle over the Xbox name
"Phase four was a battle between us and the naming guys, when we decided we just wanted to risk it and go with Xbox," recounts Blackley. "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 Online has a complete list of all the potential Xbox names, and a closer look at the making of the original Xbox.