by Amy White
What was it like naming the first Xbox after working on it in secret?
What does the team that made the first Xbox folks think of the upcoming console being named Xbox One?
We sat down with CoCreator Kevin Bachus to find out. It turns out that the Microsoft Xbox was almost the Microsoft 11X; Kevin tells us how it almost happened, and how it didn't.
"Coming up with the name Xbox was very, very quick. We actually started Xbox out of the the division of Microsoft called DirectX. So people started referring to our idea for console as 'that Direct Xbox' 'that DirectX box' 'that Xbox' and so it sort of kinda stuck around.
"Well, when we got serious about making Xbox we hired some really high priced, very qualified naming marketing companies to come up with an even better name than we were able to, becase we're just a bunch of silly engineers coming up with this little code name. So we spent months working with them, and answered questions like:
'If Xbox was a car, what kind of car would be?' and 'if Xbox was a tree what kind of tree would it be?'
"And they came back with a bunch of names that (to me) kindof sounded like car names: The Microsoft Altera, the Microsoft Alanta... things like that, that kind of sounded good but really didn't mean anything.
"So they call us up one day they say:
'Okay, listen: we've got it now. We tested this thing; Gamers love it, everybody loves it, it tested really great. We compared it to 'Xbox' and it's off the charts.'
'Great! Tell us what the name of the thing is gonna be.'
'Are you ready for it? It's the Microsoft Eleven X.'
"We all looked around at each other and said 'yep - we gotta go buy the Microsoft Xbox trademark now.'"
We sat down with Kevin Bachus to talk about the Next Big Game Search over at Dave and Buster's, but couldn't resist talking a bit about the state of the game industry, next gen, and of course, names.
And boy, are we glad we asked!
Kevin's got a bunch of great stories to tell: what it was like listening to Bill Gates announce their super-sercret Xbox project, how the team reacted to the latest Xbox name, and many more.
Originally Published Jul. 9th 2013