Talking Point: What's In A Name?
Posted by Ken Barnes
Infinity, Durango, 720 - Who cares?
The rumour mill is in full motion, suggesting that the next generation Xbox will go by the name of “Xbox Infinity.” While we kind of like the name here at pX Towers, not everyone feels the same way. Some say that to call it “Infinity” would be tantamount to killing off any chance the machine has of success altogether. Some have already changed the name on their Twitter accounts to seem as if they’re ahead of the curve.
Of course, opinions are opinions and mostly all of them are valid in one way or another but when the dust settles, does the name really even matter? After all, the name is just a tool to distinguish one machine from all the other consoles that are available, is it not?
“I’m playing on my Xbox!”
“Old school…are you firing up a bit of Halo 2?”
“No man, I meant Xbox 360.”
Job done. Aside from advertising, that’s about the only real impact a console name has on proceedings. Some people have mentioned that Nintendo’s Wii U is so similar in name to the console that preceded it – the Wii – that it’s caused confusion amongst buyers who (even though the two machines have massively different packaging and price points) can’t tell the difference between them. Apparently, that’s a problem in the information age, where everyone has more knowledge at their fingertips than ever before in history, but there you go. As long as the new Xbox avoids that “problem,” where’s the issue?
After all, when Nintendo suddenly announced in 2006 that its rumoured Nintendo Revolution console would actually be called the Nintendo Wii, how many of us had shaking shoulders and sore sides as the laughter ensued? In the UK, where the name sounded like a common word used to refer to going to the bathroom, we laughed even harder. Since then though, the system has come to own its own term, even in good old Blighty. The popularity of the machine has led to us using the name as a matter of course, or making the ridiculous sound of saying “Yes, it’ll be coming to the Wii U too” without so much as batting an eyelid.
Our current console lineup contains the aforementioned Wii U (which sounds like a badly informed impersonation of an owl), the Nintendo 3DSXL (Nintendo 3-Dimensional Dual Screen Extra Large – at least its accurate) the Xbox 360 (which is admittedly a horrible name conjured up by advertising suits in a board room), PlayStation Vita (see “Xbox 360”), and the ultimately dull PlayStation 3. And PlayStation 4.
How many of those machines are successful? Heck no, we’re not walking into that firestorm as a part of this article, but you’re looking at least four, and probably five when the PlayStation 4 has been on the shelves for a year or two. The simple fact is that at no point in our pastime’s history, has the name of a console condemned it to the grave before it even hit the shelves. Just think of how much fun you had with your FM Towns Marty, your Casio Loopy, or that shiny Apple Pippin that your dad brought home that time. Oh, wait.
Regardless, as we move into the eight generation of gaming, whether the system is released with the suffix of 720, Infinity, Freedom, or a symbol that represents the flight of a bird over the Amazonian jungle, it doesn’t matter. Most of us will call it “the new Xbox” anyway – even if Microsoft go with our personal favourite: "Xbox Floobedadooby 24/7" - and when all of the posturing is over and the initial rush of plugging in your new console has gone, the games are (or at least SHOULD be) what will make the device a success or failure in the eyes of gamers.
If they don’t, then something is very, very wrong.