Guessing the names of next-gen gaming consoles is always fun. Fans truly thought the Gamecube would be called the Nintendo 128 since it succeeded the popular Nintendo 64, and using that same logic, gamers still believe Microsoft will name its Xbox 360 sequel the Xbox 720. It's all been conjecture, until now.
The guessing game may be over: The National Arbitration Forum, which deals with international business disputes, ruled in Microsoft's favor in a complaint against a Chinese national named Cheng Juan who had filed for a series of Web addresses for both current and imagined Microsoft products. According to Fusible, Microsoft filed the complaints in May and ordered that all of the domains listed in the disputes be transferred to it in late June.
The Web addresses included XboxPhone.com, XboxTablet.com, XboxLiveTV.com, XboxCompanion.com, Xbox8.us and Xbox8.org.
Two separate legal panels found the Chinese man who filed for the domains had no rights to them, and that they were being used in bad faith.
The answer nobody wants to hear is that Microsoft likely seized the names simply because they mentioned Microsoft's assets and properties, and the company felt it was important enough to gain control over the situation. Regardless, the name Xbox 8 sticks out like a sore thumb among other names that are much easier to explain: Xbox Phone, Xbox Tablet, Xbox Live TV are all likely properties, given the upcoming Xbox Smartglass platform that ties each of those components together.
Whether or not the name Xbox 8 is legitimate, it would make a lot of sense, given Microsoft's push for Windows 8 in 2013 and attempts to tie together Microsoft's experiences on the Xbox with smartphones, computers, and now tablets. But Xbox 8 would be assigning a number to a product that means so much more than just 8. Here are 10 names that I am totally willing to let Microsoft use in naming their next-gen Xbox console.
1. The New Xbox: Take a page from Apple (everyone else is doing it)! Now that iPads will no longer be numbered -- and in all likelihood, the same will be true of iPhones -- Microsoft could simply take this tactic and apply it to its most popular product, the Xbox. Microsoft must realize that this Xbox, as great as it may be, doesn't need an additional name. The Xbox name by itself carries a great deal of value, and it could absolutely stand on its own.
2. Xbox Infinite: Video game companies create legendary systems. The Nintendo 64, the Sega Dreamcast, and the Playstation 2 all have a great deal of meaning to gamers, especially when those systems become old-fashioned or obsolete. Gamers remember their systems with a great deal of affection, which is why it's a great idea to endow the Xbox with a name that means forever. Sure, it may not last forever, but the idea is there. As an added bonus, Microsoft can still use the Xbox 8 domain and even use the 8 as a symbol for Xbox Infinite just by turning it slightly sideways.
3. Xbox 7: If we're going to play with numerology, the number 7 makes a great deal of sense: The Xbox 360 came out seven years ago, and a new system would literally be a seven-year itch for Microsoft. Furthermore, video games have a considerable amount of history with the number 7 (stars from Mario, sages from Zelda, and heavily referenced by Halo maker Bungie). Microsoft loves names with significance and value, and endowing the Xbox with a lucky number that is also heavily used in the world of video games is a win-win. To boot, Microsoft's SmartGlass system plans to integrate the Xbox home entertainment system with upcoming and current-gen Windows devices, so it would seem rather easy to package and sell all of these integrated products with the familiar 7 moniker.
We may not know the true name of Microsoft's next-gen system, but we do have a great deal of information about the system itself. In June, a 56-page leaked document from Microsoft contained plans that dated back to 2010 for an Xbox 720 that utilized the new Xbox SmartGlass system and new hardware for its Kinect motion-recognition system.
It definitely seems Microsoft plans to make SmartGlass a central feature in its new gaming console. Unveiled at E3, SmartGlass essentially connects the television and the Xbox to smartphones and tablets, letting users consume their media in a much simpler and more fun way. By connecting the Xbox 360 with Xbox Live and Kinect, users can vocally or digitally command their TVs to play movies, music, TV shows and games, and now surf the Web on Internet Explorer. But SmartGlass is primarily an application: By downloading a SmartGlass app to their smartphones or tablets, users can watch shows or listen to music on the TV, but when it's time to head out the door, users can pick up exactly where they left off directly on their smartphones and tablets.
SmartGlass also makes your tablet or smartphone into an intelligent supplemental screen when content is being shown on your TV via Xbox. For instance, if you're watching HBO's Game of Thrones, SmartGlass can offer useful contextual information, like watching the characters' locations on a world map as they travel in the show. In games like Madden, players will be able to use SmartGlass to draw up the next play on their smartphone or tablet. All in all, SmartGlass is packed with features, but it's an incredibly simple and fluid experience. More importantly, users can't enjoy the experience without owning an Xbox.