The Game Awards were slated for the official debut of the latest entry in Microsoft’s Xbox line. That evening, the new console shed its “Project Scarlet” codename in favor of a new moniker: the Xbox Series X. At least, that’s what everyone believed.
Instead, the Series X is actually the name of a particular model of the new console with possible modifications coming in the future. The base system will only go by “Xbox”. In a statement issued to Business Insider, a representative for Microsoft clarified the branding.
“The name we are taking for the next generation is simply Xbox,” the Microsoft representative said in a statement to Business Insider. And at The Game Awards, you saw the name come to life through the Xbox Series X. ”
In terms of marketing, this is not a bad strategy. While the Xbox name always has a certain iconic ring, Microsoft’s follow-up consoles don’t have the best names, and hardware modifications such as the Xbox One X ring are just for the name and are harder to understand. The simplified Xbox name will cause some minor headaches for collectors of older games or journalists, but for average consumers, it may prove to be a smart decision.
Simple branding will also help remind players of a strong time for Microsoft. The era of Xbox One has seen a lack of first-party games and third-party exclusions, resting against competitors Sony and Nintendo.
Microsoft has spent much of its generation slightly different from the competition with new technologies such as Competition 4, Backward Compatibility, and cross-play between platforms like Platform 4 and Nintendo Switch. At the end of the day, however, video games are the ones that sell consoles, and Microsoft will have to focus more on giving fans a reason to choose one of their rivals.
The system will require everyone’s help with this. Reception during The Game Awards was poor, with many not only making fun of the system’s name but comparing its appearance, rectangular design to everything from a computer tower to a stereo speaker and refrigerator. Although Microsoft’s interpretation will not change the way we look at today’s systems, fans will eventually come to embrace it.