11-X, WEP, Midway, CyberPlayGround, FACE – the rejected names for Microsoft’s first console

Microsoft’s ‘naming guys’ wanted to call the company’s first games console 11-X or Eleven-X, but were overruled by Seamus Blackley and his launch team.

Blackley was part of the team that built and launched the first Xbox, and in an excerpt from an archive Edge interview published online for the first time, he revealed to us the long list of suggested acronym-based names for what eventually became the Xbox.

“First, there were our code names, which were WEP – ‘Windows Entertainment Project’ – designed to make Microsoft executives comfortable, Midway – ‘Midway between a PC and a console or ‘Battle of Midway’ – you decide – and DirectX Box, which was shortened to xbox in email very early on.”

“When we got the first approval, Kevin [Bachus] was told we had to get a new name, because ‘xbox’ wasn’t legally sound, so against his judgment he did so, and got the phase two, or ‘car’ names. These were so bad we didn’t even save them, but I remember making fun of one of them by calling it the ‘Microsoft Bunduss’. Then we got the ‘acronym’ phase from the naming geniuses.”

Blackley was sent a huge list of potential acronym-based names, which were all “crap,” he says. The team decided to stick with Xbox. “Phase four was a battle between us and the naming guys, when we decided we just wanted to risk it and go with Xbox – since that’s what everyone called it anyway – and 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…”

You can read the complete list of the ‘naming guys’ various suggestions below, and read more from Blackley in our recent The Making Of: Xbox interview.

- MAX (Microsoft Action Experience)
- AIO (All In One)
- MIND (Microsoft Interactive Network Device)
- FACE (Full Action Center)
- MITH (Microsoft Interactive Theatre)
- XON (Experience Optimised Network)
- MVPC (Microsoft Virtual Play Center)
- TAC (Total Action Center – discs/games could be called TACs)
- MARC (Microsoft Action Reality Center)
- LEX (Live Entertainment Experience)
- M-PAC (Microsoft Play and Action Center)
- RPM (Real Performance Machine)
- MOX (Microsoft Optimal Experience)
- E2 (Extreme Experience)
- MTG (Microsoft Total Gaming)
- VIP (Virtual Interactive Player)
- PTP or P2P (Powered To Play)
- VIC (Virtual Interactive Center – disks/games could be called VICs)
- MARZ (Microsoft Active Reality Zone)
- TSO (Three, Six, Zero)
- EHQ (Entertainment Headquarters)
- O2 (Optimal Ozone or Optical Odyssey)
- MIC (Microsoft Interactive Center)
- R&R (Reality and Revolution)
- MEA (Microsoft Entertainment Activator)
- AMP (Active Microsoft Player)
- VPS (Virtual Play System)
- MAP (Microsoft Action Play)
- MEGA (Microsoft Entertainment & Gaming Attendant or Microsoft Entertainment & Gaming Assembly)
- CPG (CyberPlayGround)
- VERV (Virtual Entertainment & Reality Venture)
- OM (Odyssey of the Mind)
- P2 (PowerPlay)
- IS1 (Interactive System In One)
- MET (Microsoft Entertainment Technology or Microsoft Entertainment Theatre)

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