Last week, viewers of The Game Awards were treated to 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: Xbox Series X. At least, that’s what everyone was led to believe. Instead, Series X is actually the name of one particular model of the new console, with potential revisions to come in the future. The base system will simply go by “Xbox.” In a statement released to Business Insider, a representative for Microsoft clarified the branding.
“The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement to Business Insider, “And at The Game Awards you saw that name come to life through the Xbox Series X.”
In terms of marketing, it’s not a bad strategy. While the Xbox name has always had a certain iconic ring to it, Microsoft’s follow-up consoles haven’t had the best names, and hardware revisions such as the Xbox One X have only made the names sound clunky, and difficult to understand. The simplified Xbox name will likely cause some minor headaches for collectors of vintage games or journalists, but for average consumers, it could prove to be a smart decision.
The simpler branding will also help remind players of a stronger time for Microsoft. The Xbox One era has seen a dearth of first party games and third party exclusives, hurting the console against competitors Sony and Nintendo. Microsoft has spent the majority of this generation doing things a bit differently from their competition, investing in new technology like streaming, backwards compatibility and cross-play between platforms like PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. At the end of the day, however, video games are what sells consoles, and Microsoft will have to focus more on giving fans a reason to choose their consoles over those of their competitors.
The system will need all the help it can get. Reception during The Game Awards was fairly poor, with many not only ridiculing the system’s name, but also its appearance, comparing the rectangular design to everything from a computer tower, to a stereo speaker and even a refrigerator. While today’s clarification from Microsoft won’t change the way the system looks, perhaps fans will eventually come to embrace it.
What do you think of the simpler “Xbox” branding for Microsoft’s new system? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!