When the Xbox One was originally announced, its name caused a lot of confusion and amusement because Microsoft threw normal naming conventions out the window and went backwards in number. However, Microsoft is no stranger to unusual numbering: after all, it named the original Xbox’s successor “Xbox 360.” As it turns out, though, the other name Microsoft considered for the 360 is even stranger.
According to an IGN interview with former Chief Xbox Executive Robbie Bach, the company seriously thought about naming the console “Xbox 3.” And the reasoning centered on Sony’s console, the PlayStation 3, and how Microsoft didn’t want people to perceive Xbox as behind.
Bach explained, “Certainly Xbox 3 was actually on the list because, 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 want to feel like you’re a generation behind, so why not skip?”
Of course, the company ended up going with “Xbox 360,” but since then Microsoft has proven just as willing to subvert numbering expectations. For example, last year it skipped Windows 9, going directly from Windows 8 to Windows 10.
In addition to talking about the 360’s name, Bach also explained why Microsoft never made an Xbox handheld. Take a look at IGN for more interesting tidbits from their series with Robbie Bach.