“Xbox 360” is no doubt an original name. It leaves a sleek and polished impression, like the second generation Xbox console itself. That’s exactly what the developers intended, according to former Chief Xbox Officer Robbie Bach via an interview with IGN.
Bach reveals that around 10 names were being considered for the Xbox 360. “Certainly Xbox 3 was actually on the list,” he says. Xbox 3? An odd name for only the second Xbox console to be released. “Well, you’ve gotta’ catch up. You don’t want to be Xbox 2 compared to PlayStation 3. We actually talked about that.”
“You don’t feel like you’re a generation behind, so why not skip one?” Bach’s point is plain and simple: the newer something sounds, the newer that people will perceive it. Those who’ve paid close attention to Microsoft in the past won’t be too surprised to learn that the company has used this tactic before. “Windows skipped numbers. There is no Windows 9, Microsoft has a long history of skipping numbers,” he says in reference to Microsoft’s leap from Windows 8 to Windows 10.
In order to compete against Sony’s PlayStation 3, the team behind Xbox 360 needed to sound just as shiny and advanced as anyone would expect from a third generation console. And so, they arrived at “Xbox 360.”
“The truth is, on this naming stuff? Doesn’t matter that much,” says Bach. “In the end, we probably spent too much time on naming it. And by the way, if you can go back to Xbox One, you know, all rules are broken, right?”