As we get closer to Microsoft revealing its next-generation Xbox console, there will be a lot more talk about the name. Over the years, people have been suggesting possible names like the Xbox 720, Xbox Infinity, Xbox 8, Xbox Next, and the list goes on and on.
Given all the information already known about the next-gen console, here’s another name to throw into the ring: Xbox Gold.
Now before you say to yourself, “No way it will be called this”, this speculation isn’t entirely from left field, as Microsoft has left a new trail of domain bread crumbs recently involving the name “Xbox Gold”.
Trail of domain clues
The first clue that Microsoft may have plans to use “Xbox Gold” came two weeks ago when the company filed a complaint (Case Number: 1483759) with the National Arbitration Forum over the domain XboxGold.org. A day later, Microsoft followed up that complaint, with another over Xbox-Gold.com (Case Number: 1484502).
Then, this week, the company acquired the name XboxGold.com from its previous owner, according to WHOIS records.
And that’s not all: over the last several days, as rumors of Microsoft preparing an Xbox event in April have been swirling around the internet, the company has been quietly acquiring and purchasing other “Xbox Gold” domain names like XboxGold.cn, XboxGold.es, XboxGold.eu, XboxGold.in, XboxGold.com.au, and XboxGold.asia.
Since Microsoft first filed its domain disputes earlier this month, I’ve been doing quite a bit of monitoring of Xbox Gold domains and have tracked the activity, which has led me to speculate on the next-gen console’s name.
Protecting IP or aligning next-gen console’s name with an already existing service?
You could argue Microsoft is doing nothing more than protecting its intellectual property, particularly its Xbox LIVE Gold subscription service.
It’s a possibility the company is simply defending its IP, but it’s also a possibility that the console could be named “identically to one of already existing services”, as was one of many rumors last October.
Users often refer to Xbox LIVE Gold as Xbox Gold, and if Microsoft decides to couple the next-gen console’s name with one of its already existing services, what better name than “Xbox Gold”?
While “Xbox Gold” hasn’t been one of the next-gen console names being tossed around the internet before, with all the recent steps the company has been taking to secure domain names this month, it’s a candidate.
Xbox LIVE Gold has been around for a number of years, so why start “defensively” acquiring and purchasing related names to the service a month before the rumored big reveal of the next-gen Xbox? Microsoft could have gone after the names a long time ago.
Microsoft’s report card on matching Xbox next-gen domains
The company’s report card on owning matching Xbox next-gen domain names is mixed.
Which name Microsoft goes with, may depend on what they already own.
Here’s a look.
Xbox720.com (WHOIS) – Microsoft does not own the domain. The web address made news last year after the owner redirected it to Sony’s Playstation 3 site. Today, the name sends visitors to a website called eGusta.
XboxInfinity.com (WHOIS) – Microsoft does not own the domain. It is currently owned by a resident of China who registered the name after it expired in late 2012. The domain points a parked web page monetized with ads.
Xbox8.com (WHOIS) -Microsoft does not own the domain. It is also owned by a resident of China. The domain name does not resolve to a web site at the time of this story being published.
XboxDurango.com (WHOIS) – Microsoft does not own the domain. It’s parked at Go Daddy and registered to a resident of California.
XboxNext.com (WHOIS) – Microsoft does own this domain, which it uses to redirect visitors to Bing. The company has owned the domain for more than 10 years, but has never put it to use.
XboxGold.com (WHOIS) – You already know the story. Microsoft acquired the name earlier this week, but it’s unknown whether the company opened up its wallet to acquire the name, or if it threatened legal action in order to obtain it.
With regards to the XboxGold.org and Xbox-Gold.com domain disputes, the cases are still pending. It may be weeks before we know the outcome.Last July, Microsoft’s won two Xbox 8-related names at NAF.
In 2013 alone, the company has won or filed complaints over a number of names like XboxFitness.com, XboxFitness.net, XboxAccount.com, XboxSafety.com and more.
I’ve reached out to XboxGold.com’s previous owner to inquire about the transaction, and will update this post if I hear anything back.
Readers: What do you think? Is “Xbox Gold” a long shot?
(Image of next Xbox concept art via designer Joseph Dumary)