It’s Not Xbox Series X, It’s Apparently Just Xbox

It’s Not Xbox Series X, It’s Apparently Just Xbox

Know how everyone was making jokes about what the next Xbox would be called, and it turned out to be the Xbox Series X? There’s just one problem – it’s not called that, with Microsoft clarifying in a new interview that all future iterations of their console will simply be called “Xbox”.

In an interview with Business Insider, a Microsoft representative clarified that “the name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox”.

“And at The Game Awards you saw that name come to life through the Xbox Series X,” they added. To help that make a little more sense, have a look at the size of the fonts when Phil Spencer announced the console’s name and look:

See how the Xbox is the largest font there? It’s not just because that’s the brand name – it’s also meant to designate that all consoles are “Xbox” going forward. That’s kind of what Microsoft has always done (Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One) … so it’s kind of hard to understanding the thinking.

And you’ve got to wonder how regular consumers are going to parse this. You’d have thought that Microsoft would have learned lessons from Nintendo, whose customers thought the Wii U was an add-on instead of a new console.

Just imagine a parent walking into JB or EB Games. “I already own an Xbox? Oh, all games are gonna still run on that Xbox? That’s fine then.”

To rub a bit of salt into the wound, see this follow-up quote from the same Microsoft representative:

“Similar to what fans have seen with previous generations, the name ‘Xbox Series X’ allows room for additional consoles in the future,” the Microsoft rep told us.

The name? The model name? Or the console’s name?

I can understand the logic behind wanting to move away from numbers. It’s inevitable that some families and people outside of the gaming sphere would have assumed the PS5 was more powerful just because the number was bigger. I reckon Xbox 2020 would have worked just fine in that regard, and it communicates pretty clearly that it’s the latest console.

All of this will only get worse when the cheaper next-gen Xbox, the one without a disc drive, launches. Will the Xbox Series S sit alongside the Xbox Series X? What about the next generation? Do they dump the “Series” naming convention? Do we just go to Xbox X2?

PlayStation must be having a blast watching all this unfold. They still need a proper answer to the value Xbox Game Pass provides, but there’s nothing like getting an advantage by doing absolutely nothing.


  • I really don’t understand Microsoft’s thinking here. What are they hoping to achieve by confusing people? They need to fire their naming team and come up with something better before launch. Heck even the codenames sounded better than this.

    • The code names always sound better.
      It’s like a MS tradition to have a passable project name and then stuff the actual name up.

    • If their overall goal is to stop breaking backward compatibility going forward, then it isn’t such a bad idea. Imagine being able to buy an “Xbox” game and not have to worry as much about whether it will run on your particular console.

      It’s not perfect though, since at some point you’ll have the same “minimum system requirements” issues as PC games, where old consoles eventually fail to run new games. But no longer distinguishing which specific generation console a game targets is a pretty big change.

      • it’s inline with Windows 10 branding too. Frequent iterative updates instead of a new numbered versions each time. There’s probably a smug microsoft marketing exec somewhere who linked X to 10.

    • Yeah I can just imagine some fucker patting themselves on the back all like, “I’m a genius.” as this shit was being announced to people.

      And the same person reacting with, “Oh they’re not smart enough to get it.” when they saw people were confused by the convoluted mess.

  • Well, it makes sense. You start with XBox, then you do a 360 and end up back at square One which was the XBox.

    • They did actually do something that time, even if it was only a 20 second video.

      This time around they’ve adopted Luigi’s strategy and just stood there while the opponent kills themselves.

  • xbox
    xbox 360
    xbox 360 s (slim)
    xbox 360 e
    xbox one
    xbox one e
    xbox one s
    xbox one s all-digital
    xbox one x
    xbox sx


    Ha, oh… spare a thought for the poor kids next year who will enthusiastically tell their schoolmates that Mum and/or Dad is getting them an xbox for Christmas, only to receive the 500GB Xbone.

    • …That probably would happen anyway, even if they called it the “Xbox 5” or the “Xbox 2020”.
      All of the things you listed carry the “Xbox” name. They are all “Xbox”. The “Series X” is no different in that regard.

      “Series X” is a stupid name.
      Just “Xbox” is not a thing that is happening.

        • I’d be impressed. It’s why I didn’t mention the possibility of a parent accidentally getting an old xbox. You’d have to actually try really hard. No-one at a chain game shop is going to have one.

          And yeah, the article made it clear that the future of the name is unclear. I was just joking around. 🙂

          • Gamesmen do. I buy one from them every time I have a hankering to play one of the many games that haven’t been BC on the 360 or One. And you can bet people will put their OG Xboxes on eBay for a little under however much the new system will go for.

  • Cause there’s nothing simpler than using the same word to refer to … what, five different things now? Xbox the (next-gen) console, Xbox the (current-gen) console, Xbox (their first-gen) console, Xbox the Microsoft division, Xbox the online gaming network/service…

  • I honestly really liked their move to having Xbox become the overall platform, as very clearly evidenced by ‘Xbox’ also being their PC front for Game Pass and their Windows store…

    But christ are they going to need to cut the shit and add some clarity with the console names.

    • I kinda find the ‘xbox’ prefix in front of game pass/windows store/beta on PC kinda annoying. It’s not an xbox, it’s a PC. But if they’re just trying to re-brand everything gaming that they do as xbox, then I guess that makes sense… but yeah, if that’s the case they have to do something to distinguish their consoles from their PC store.

      • Honestly, I think the branding shift was sort of done for them by consumers whether they wanted it or not. Xbox has been pretty synonymous with an online, digital marketplace for years now thanks to the subscription service… They just took it and ran it all the way to PC.

        Things like, “I’ll be on Xbox/Playstation” I’ve personally heard a ridiculous amount due to working with kids… And they’re clearly referencing the online space and multiplayer side of things, less the hardware, even though you need said hardware to get there.

        And while we’ll never know for sure, I don’t expect ‘Live’ was too great of a contender for PC given how much of a shitshow Windows Live was when it existed… I’d have left that corpse buried too.

    • But then they went with XB1 vs the PS5? I guess they got their arse handed to them – maybe they blamed it on the lower number. Or maybe they didn’t count that as a number at all because they spelt it “One” instead of “1”?

    • Well they skipped Windows 9, Apple skipped from iPhone 8 to a letter instead. Who says they can’t call it the Xbox 6?

  • Aha, I see what Microsoft are doing. I think it’s safe to place bets on the following generation – ‘Colecovision’

  • I don’t understand what the issue is here. People are getting so confused because the next Xbox is an Xbox? What?
    Surprise! The next PlayStation is also a PlayStation! So confusing!

    • It’s the lack of a logical sequential differentiation. Imagine going to buy something you don’t know much about and being faced with a bunch of random letters, numbers, phrases, and price points. When you want someone to buy your product common sense says don’t make it unnecessarily hard for them to do it.

      • I get that. And for that reason, the “Series X” is a confusing name. I’m on board with that.
        But this news story appearing everywhere that the next-gen Xbox is called Xbox? What’s the quote? “The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox,”Well of course it is! This is not news!

        • You’re missing the point.

          The first Xbox – the original console released in 2001, was called Xbox. Now they are saying this new console releasing in 2020 will also be called Xbox.

          And they are calling one version of it the “Series X” when there’s already a product called the “One X” on the market.

          Can you honestly not see how that might be slightly confusing?

          Your PlayStation example doesn’t work as an argument because…guess what, only the original console released in 1994 was called PlayStation. The new console releasing in 2020 will not be called simply PlayStation. It’ll be called PlayStation 5. A logical progression from the PlayStation 4 that preceded it, and the PlayStation 3 before that and the PlayStation 2 before that.

          What Microsoft has done here would be the equivalent of Nintendo just naming the Switch “Nintendo”.

          • I get what you’re saying, and I’ve already stated that I agree that “Series X” is a confusing name, especially in light of the “One X”, as you mention.

            This new console coming out in 2020 won’t be called “Xbox” like the 2001 version.
            The 2020 Xbox will be the “Xbox Series X”. Same as the 2020 PlayStation will be the “PlayStation 5”.
            Again, I agree that “4” -> “4 Pro” -> “5” is clearer than “One” -> “One X” -> “Series X”

            Your Nintendo example doesn’t work because they’re not naming it the “Microsoft”, or even the “Xbox”.

          • This new console coming out in 2020 won’t be called “Xbox” like the 2001 version.

            Yes it will.

            That’s entirely what this article is about. Their next gen system is literally going to be called Xbox.

            By the looks of it, there’s going to be a number of different models under this umbrella, with “Series X” being one of them.

          • This article takes this point of view, yes, but it is wrong.
            There will be no console out in 2020 that is called simply “Xbox”.
            Like you said, there will be a number of different models, and I will guarantee you that none of them will be called just “Xbox”.

            I believe that the names will probably all still be as confusing as hell, and once games start optimising for the higher end versions, people might get confused as to which game will run on which console. I’m not debating that.

            There will be no new console you can buy called simply “Xbox”.

    • There isn’t – this it’s mostly people taking snarky potshots. I think calling it Xbox will be fine and personally I think this means if you buy an “Xbox” game it will work in any Xbox in future just at different specs

      • I think the confusion is that if they planned on just calling it the xbox, then why didnt they just announce it as the xbox?

        • Yeah I get that – I just take it to mean – ‘This console is “Series X”

          But games are just coming out on Xbox’

          • Yeah, it gets tough once you diverge from the sequential numbers game. Personally I’m not confused by it because I keep up with gaming news as most Kotaku readers do, but I do understand from my own experience (read: stuff-ups) in marketing to broad demographics that KISS is the best way to go with branding / advertising.

        • Because the thing they announced is the “Series X”?The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox,…implying that consoles this generation will still be known as Xboxes, just as they have been through all iterations since 2001. Not “Whoops, it’s just ‘Xbox’, it’s not actually the ‘Xbox Series X’ like we announced”

          • Then it’s still confusing as shit.

            ‘The name we’re carrying foward is simply xbox as you can see with the xbox series x’

            Then I guess it’s not simply ‘xbox’?

          • Let me piece together a (potentially) full Microsoft quote from that Business Insider article:
            The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox, […] And at The Game Awards you saw that name come to life through the Xbox Series X. […] Similar to what fans have seen with previous generations, the name ‘Xbox Series X’ allows room for additional consoles in the future, […] That’s all I got.
            My translation: This next generation, we’re going to be making a bunch of new consoles, all of which will be called “Xbox”. For example, we announced the “Xbox Series X”.
            The name gives us wiggle room to make anything from the “Xbox Series S” to the “Xbox Phone” if we wanted.
            … I also imagine something within the next year or two which exists to solely stream XCloud games whose name will also be “Xbox [thing]”

          • Thanks, that makes sense. I think it was just a bit confusing the language he used, I.e. ‘simply xbox’

          • It doesn’t help that every gaming news outlet is repeating “The next Xbox is just ‘Xbox'” in their headlines. Or even worse in the case of this particular article…
            “It’s Not Xbox Series X…” #fakenews I guess?

  • This is right up there with game and movie series to do a reboot in the middle with the same name as the original… I’m looking at you Mortal Kombat

  • people outside of the gaming sphere would have assumed the PS5 was more powerful just because the number was bigger

    I wonder how many people bought a Fiat 500 because they thought it was more powerful than a Nissan 370Z?

    I really think that they can probably credit the general public with SOME intelligence here. Or at least enough self-interest that they’d do SOME research before dropping hundreds of dollars on a console, even if it’s just asking the guy in the shop.

      • I know some folks who have had the conversation, looking to get a console for their son this Christmas: “So there’s more than one xbox? What’s the difference, like… which one should I get? I don’t really trust the sales guys, they could be telling you anything to make money.”

        And you’d think that, “The more expensive ones are better,” would be… well. A no-brainer, but then with all the specials and bundles, and not all bundles being equal, the gap can narrow and it starts to be a less obvious choice based on price alone, not being certain if you’re just buying the best quality item or if you’re instead getting fleeced.

        And it’s hard to communicate very quickly to someone who’s already feeling out of their depth that actually, you can just as well get an xbox one S as an X and not be missing out on much, but maybe you could just get the cheapest option now and upgrade via trade-in in a year to the next gen model, and they ARE still selling older xbones, non-S/X, and that’s going to be cheaper (probably!) but is a marked step down in performance, but yes… yes it will technically still work and play the same games, too, so where are you priorities? Decision paralysis can set in disturbingly easily.

        • Surely their son would know what he wants? Just ask him. If he doesn’t have a preference then it doesn’t matter anyway.

          • They want it to be a surprise.
            (Also, that’s asking the fox how much access they should have to the henhouse.)

            I mean… research isn’t THAT hard when you’re looking at spending hundreds of dollars, but I get it. People are lazy/there can be a lot of overwhelming information out there.

        • Also, there’s potentially the sales guys trying to get rid of old stock. Had this issue looking for a Nest mini for my folks this Christmas – JB was advertising a $69 Nest Mini bundle, but the shelves were full of a $79 Home Mini bundles – all the Nest bundles were hiding in the stockroom because they were trying to get all the older models out the door. It took some research to figure out which was the newer model, what the differences were, etc, especially with the non-sequential name change. I can see a lot of parents having similar issues this time next year with the new Xbox release…

  • Really? This is an issue? This is an issue on the same scale as the botched launch of the Xbox One? A console that was saddled with so many unfriendly features that Sony took a decisive advantage for the whole life of this generation. And you think that Sony is looking at the name of the new console and thinking, “Oh we’ve won this generation already!”

    Or, another way to look at it- we have a console that boasts:
    . four times the power of an Xbox One X;
    . employing the latest AMD Navi and Zen 2 technology;
    . capable of up to 8K and/or 120 fps;
    . 10+ teraflops of graphics power;
    . variable refresh rate and hardware ray tracing;
    . customised SSD for instant loading of games; and
    . two games already announced as Series X games.

    And yet this console will fail because people want to be “confused” about its name.

    There are 11 months between now and the retail launch of the Series X. I really doubt that this issue is going to follow the console like a bad smell.

  • I can imagine nefarious eBay sellers are drooling with glee over this.

    Microsoft have made misleading advertising/descriptions just too easy.

    • At this point I’d agree that they throw the number shit out the window and just give the consoles names.

      “Which Xbox is the most recent?”

      They can’t comfortably go back to numbers now, they’ve well and truly pissed the bed there… 360, One, One X, etc.

      • But… that’s exactly what they are doing. Just replace “Scarlet” with “Series X”. Why are you suggesting they should do something they are doing?

        The issue of “most recent” I assume is going to get muddy when they start releasing lower-specced ones aimed at XCloud customers.

  • I guess it’s a bit like Apple and their computer range. Each new iMac or MacBook Pro doesn’t have a number or model signifier on the branding or marketing, but is referred to by its release year in system preferences or on support documents etc. So this would be the XBOX (2020). Stupid yes, but it could make sense if they stuck to it from here on out.

    • The problem with naming it after release year is that it looks inferior pretty quickly. In 2022, the “Xbox 2020” will sound outdated.

      I don’t know what the problem is with just giving their systems a unique name like Nintendo does. Outside of the Wii U which was a PR disaster from the start, nobody is confused by their unique names. Nobody is going to accidentally buy a Wii U or 3DS instead of a Switch.

      • I wasn’t suggesting adding the year as the official name, just calling it XBOX. But yeah they’re definitely trying to fix something that isn’t broken. Just give it a unique identifier and get on with it.

  • Who the hell gives a flying fuck about an Xbox series console coming in 2020?!
    I don’t give a fuck about this next console coming out next year you’re in dead last Microsoft with your struggling hardware sales trying to keep up against Nintendo and Sony.
    I mean the Nintendo Switch has already outsold the Xbox One S.
    But the next Xbox Series console coming in 2020?
    I don’t fucking care so suck it up Microsoft!

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