Phil Spencer revealed the next-gen Xbox at The Game Awards last night, and we found out Project Scarlett’s official name. Now, the naming scheme of the Xbox has been a meme since the Xbox 360 debuted. However, this gen especially, Microsoft came under fire for the ridiculous and confusing names it’s given its console line. Apparently, the company has embraced the derision by choosing to name its upcoming console the “Xbox Series X.”
Watching The Game Awards, the Xbox Series X moniker immediately confused me. After all, we were all waiting for Project Scarlett, so this Series X name made me think this was some final evolution of the Xbox One. It wasn’t until I saw the Holiday 2020 release date that I realized that Microsoft had done it again. I’m not a marketing guy, but I am an expert gamer (remember that magazine?) and an educated consumer. So, if the naming scheme for the upcoming Xbox confused me, I can only imagine how the general public will react.
Microsoft doesn’t seem to have learned from the past when it comes to choosing what to call its consoles. When naming a console, you should pick one or more of these attributes:
- Descriptive (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch)
- Unique (GameCube, Wii)
- Cool (Genesis, Saturn)
Unfortunately, the name Xbox Series X doesn’t have any of the above qualities. Instead, the console has a nonsensical title that will inevitably cause it to be confused with the Xbox One X. In fact, when I was adding the Xbox Series X to our CMS as a new platform, I accidentally entered it as the “Xbox One Series X.” Again, I’m very plugged into the industry, so if I flub up like that, just imagine how shoppers will feel on Holiday 2020. Little Timmy will be shunned by his peers at school when grammy and pop-pop get him the Xbox One X instead of the Xbox Series X, and that’s on you Microsoft.
The biggest sin here is that the Xbox Series X already had a cool name that Microsoft could have gone with: Scarlett. The next-gen console was dubbed Project Scarlett during E3 2019, and “Xbox Scarlett” is what everyone has called it since. Scarlett is a cool-ass name. It channels the one of the strongest female characters in cinema history, Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, and Scarlett Johansson, who people absolutely love or hate depending on the week. Of course, Microsoft did the same thing with the Xbox One X. Everyone loved “Project Scorpio,” but then the production model was revealed as the Xbox One X to the collective sigh of the video gaming world.
I’m not sure how Xbox Series X tested well enough to beat out all the other potential names for the next-gen Xbox. The name doesn’t do enough to delineate between this gen and the next, and it just doesn’t sound cool. Sony makes things easy by just throwing a number after “PlayStation.” Nintendo usually goes with whatever the console does or looks like. Microsoft seems to name its consoles like it’s trying to launch a smartwatch, a cellphone, or a luxury car.
Now, I’m not dogging the console itself. I even like the big-ass computer tower design. I’m excited to see what the Xbox Series X can do, and it’s obvious Microsoft isn’t looking to repeat the mistakes it made with the launch of the Xbox One. I just hope that somehow the Xbox’s naming scheme will start to make sense at some point down the line.