Yesterday, Xbox released a six-part documentary series on YouTube called Power On covering the entire history of the brand at Microsoft, and it’s truly an excellent and captivating work, not shying away from Microsoft’s many mistakes over the years. The whole thing adds up to around four hours of content (so I watched it at 1.5x speed to shorten that), but it’s absolutely worth watching despite the time commitment. And one of the funniest things discussed in the Power On documentary is just the hundreds of alternate names that Microsoft considered for Xbox — and how many of them were hilariously terrible.
What’s notable is that “Xbox” was the name the development team had been using from the very beginning, but it was just a codename and it felt inappropriate to use it as the final name, since it hadn’t gone through rigorous market research. However, many of the names marketing came back with were completely ridiculous. We don’t want to spoil the comedy of hearing all the alternate Xbox console names out of the employees’ mouths, but a few of them include Frixion, Psyclipse, Questria, and… Zimulate. We have already cued up the documentary to the right moment below, so just go ahead and hit play and enjoy.
As the documentary explains, somehow Microsoft marketing ultimately decided that “11X” was the perfect name for the console, with the idea being that “this console goes to 11.” But of course, that name was immediately discarded and they finally moved forward with Xbox. It was for the best. They also decided to only call it “Xbox” as opposed to “Microsoft Xbox,” because the Microsoft name had such a stigma attached to it for various unsavory reasons.
Let us know what your favorite alternate Xbox console name is. Almost any of the names listed in the documentary would have greatly enhanced the odds of Nintendo’s GameCube trouncing it; there probably wouldn’t be any Halo Infinite to play right now.