Well, here we are. We now know the names of the three consoles that’ll be competing come this holiday season. PlayStation 4. Wii U. And now, Xbox One. But every console needs a shorthand name; the Xbox 360 was just the “360,” the PlayStation 4 is the “PS4.” But what to call the Xbox One?
As Jason points out, the name “Xbox One” could be a bit confusing to your average gamer. I see what he’s saying, though I don’t really share his concern. I think people will get it. And really, I don’t mind the name; it’s a bit annoyingly clever (“It is the ONE thing you’ll need in your living room, do you GET IT?”) but judged for purely aesthetic qualities, “Xbox One” has a much better rhythm and tonality than the pinched “Wii U,” and even removes some of the sibilance of “PS4.”
But as I said, the question remains as to what we’re going to call this thing in everyday conversation.
Two contenders come to mind. There’s XB1, pronounced “Ex Bee One,” which the same number of syllables as “PS4″ and rolls off the tongue nicely. Then again, the full name, Xbox One, has the same number of syllables, so that’s not really a shortening at all. It’s more about achieving letter-letter-number parity with the PS4.
The other option is much more enjoyable, and has already been catching on: “Xbone.” Microsoft seems to want us to type out the one (one) rather than using a numeric symbol (1), and when we do that to an abbreviation (XB), we get “Xbone.”
This is a potentially problematic shorthand, at least for Microsoft. That’s because… well, “bone” isn’t exactly a word you want associated with your console. Boneheaded, boner, totally boned, etc. That said, the word has its positive connotations as well: T-Bone Burnett, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, “Bones” McCoy, etc. And it sure is a lot of fun to say.
Of course, this isn’t the sort of thing anyone can just up and decide. Language evolves over time, and with usage. Maybe there’s an option that hasn’t yet come to light, or we’ll go with some mixture of the three listed here, sort of like how Call of Duty: Black Ops is either COD or Black Ops or CODBlops depending on who’s talking, where.
Time will tell. But I gotta say, I do kind of hope “Xbone” sticks around.