Top Microsoft Exec Says ‘Xbone’ Nickname Didn’t Even Occur To Him

Top Microsoft Exec Says ‘Xbone’ Nickname Didn’t Even Occur To Him

It’s hard to believe they didn’t see it. And yet Microsoft’s Phil Spencer says he didn’t anticipate that the company’s new console, the Xbox One, would immediately be dubbed the “Xbone” by fans and detractors alike.

“At first, I guess the thing that bugged me the most is I didn’t see it,” Spencer told Gamespot in a new interview. “I’d been looking at the name for Xbox One for months, and I wasn’t clever enough to merge them and come up with Xbone.”

Of course, within minutes of the Xbox One announcement, hundreds of people across social media, message boards and video game news sites christened the console the Xbone.

Spencer acknowledges that the nickname isn’t going anywhere. “You know, I think it’s going to stick. I think we can say we don’t like it as much as we want, but it’s a clever use of the name. Probably not the most flattering name, but I think it’s going to be there.”

Right he is. A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb also weighed in on the nickname, saying, “I don’t like it. …it disrespects the teams that have put in thousands of hours (already) into the development of the product. Sure, it’s cheeky but I don’t care for it myself.”

Whether or not Microsoft likes it, the nickname is sticking around. Though, hey, while “Xbone” may sound like the name of a classic rock radio station, it’s still arguably a bit less confusing than the actual name of the console.

Microsoft’s Spencer says the clever Xbone nickname will stick [Gamespot via NeoGAF]


    • I’ve heard people call it ‘The One’, what’s the big deal?

      Surprisingly, not everyone giggles when someone refers to it as xboner either.

      Imagine such a world.

      • I’ve seen it called ‘The One’, too. Usually by people trying to keep a stiff upper lip about their favourite console and passive-aggressively fighting back against the One True Nickname bestowed upon it by the scornful masses. Buying into that sort of self-aggrandizing promotion isn’t quite as popular amongst folks with a healthy sense of humour and cynicism.

        Say what you like about the damage it betrays in those who wield it, Tall Poppy Syndrome is certainly effective at cruelly exposing those who try to put on airs or have unjustified messiah complexes.

    • I know. It totally serves them right.

      It’s like trying to make your friends give you a cool nick name … never going to work.

      • One of the kids at my school had an unhealthily white obsession with gangsta rap in the mid-nineties and insisted on ‘tagging’ things everywhere with his stylized tag. It was meant to be a graffiti-style squiggle of what he declared to be his new nickname: ‘Busta’. (Inspiration taken very unashamedly from Busta Rhymes.)

        Only… the way he wrote it, it wasn’t entirely clear that it said ‘Busta’. It actually kinda looked like ‘Buspas’. So from that day on, he was Bus-Pass.

      • That is EXACTLY what I thought of when I heard people calling it The One.

        The Xbone on the top of a weird pyramid fighting off hordes of prison rapists.

  • I don’t see why Major Nelson got his knickers in a knot over it. How does it disrespect the people that worked on it?

    It would be different people were calling it the “Xcrap” or something like that.

  • They shouldn’t feel too bad. Apparently the government didn’t take acronyms in to account when they named the Federal Anti-Gang Squad.

      • Trying too hard to be cool is never popular. I wonder if Microsoft is full of folks who never learned that lesson at school… – Ben’s article here really nails it. The Microsoft cultural problem.

        Which, to be fair, sounds like it’s being solved with their advertising of the Surface Pro 2, which – instead of an idiotic ad full of hipsters break-dancing – is about holding an event for industry professionals in various fields to be given a device they’re incredibly impressed with, then telling their industry’s peers what they like about it and why it works well for what they do in their field.

        You know… letting the product speak for itself instead of hitting Portland for a random undersold showing of a female folk-pop singer and hoping her whimsical but catchy Apple-ad-quality underground music will do the selling for them.

  • I’m getting my xbone on day 1. I can’t wait. But I’m still going to call it xbone. It just fits so well and removes any ambiguity. Calling it “The One” would have everyone wondering what the hell drugs you were on. I think this is what Microsoft is missing from this. Yes it’s a little disparaging but if they took it and embraced it they could turn it into something more.

    I really think xbone is giving the new console more personality and more market awareness than if people were using a generic moniker.

    • “…there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
      – Oscar Wilde

    • That’s pretty much the sentiment that the Giant Bomb crew expressed. If they embraced it, they would be in on the joke and no-one would care. With the whole ‘it’s disrespectful’ tone, it makes them look stodgy and humourless. I also don’t get the ‘disrespectful’ part about it. No-one’s disparaging the people who designed the console by calling it the Xbone, they’re making fun of Microsoft’s tone-deaf branding.

  • Wait. Is it EX bone or CROSS bone? Because I’ve been calling it EX bone but that image has me questioning my sense of reality.

    • Ex-Bone. Like ex-box, but boned. Not like the piratey skull and crossbones, because pirates are way cooler than was intended to be associated with the xbone.

  • The only people who were “disrespected” were the consumers who were expected to swallow Microsoft crappy always-on policy.

    Maybe xbone took off so quickly because that is what consumers thought they were getting, boned.

    • LOL, someone’s bitter right.

      I can’t wait for you to tell us how bad it is that they changed their policies… they could never win with you could they 🙂

      • Don’t be childish. Why would I be bitter? I am simply retelling the story of what happened. MS brought in a policy people hated and then they had to reverse said policy.

        The way companies “win” with me is to provide good quality products with dependable services I want. Unlike the rest of the gaming community, I haven’t taken up arms in the holy console war.

      • I hope those people intend on buying 2 or 3 XB1s to make up for the people who seemed to have switched to the PlayStation camp after MS’ disastrous always-on announcement.

  • Wouldn’t a massive company like MS hire a lot of marketing folk who would pore over the name of their shiny new console to ensure the name couldn’t be misused, turn into unflattering slang, refer to something obscene etc.? I would have thought that’d be part of marketing 101.

    • You’re making the assumption that market research is the cure all for any problems in marketing when in reality it isn’t. I remember doing Marketing as an elective at Uni and one of the most important things I learn about MR is that while it is effective and brillant tool it does not prevent failure.

      Ten to one MS did do the research and the people liked the name Xbox One. Hence its the name they went with. MR does not include trying to figure out what your detractors are going to call the product you are selling.

  • I only hate the name ‘xbone’ because it’s easier just to say xone as in “zone”. That’s how my lazy brain works.

    as a name itself, xbone isn’t a bad name by any means. it’s a nickname, plain and simple. the xbone name doesn’t change the perception of the machine itself.

  • It reminds me of The Simpsons, when you see Homer mulling over if “Bart” will be a good name for his first child.
    (Pasting from the internet)

    Marge: Homer, I’ve been thinking, if the baby’s a boy, what do you think of the name Larry?
    Homer: Marge, we can’t do that! All the kids will call him Larry Fairy.
    Marge: Well, how about Louie?
    Homer: They’ll call him Screwy Louie.
    Marge: Bob?
    Homer: Flob.
    Marge: Luke?
    Homer: Puke.
    Marge: Marcus?
    Homer: Mucus.
    Marge: What about Bart?
    Homer: Let’s see… Bart, Cart, Dart, Ee-yart… Nope, can’t see any problem with that!

  • lol classic. I wonder how much $$$$$$$$ they spend coming up with that name.

    reminds me oh Homer naming Bart… “bart… bart… hmmm nothing rhymes with that!”

Log in to comment on this story!