- Microsoft secures Web addresses for "Xbox 8"
- A Chinese cybersquatter had grabbed that domain and others
- Some wonder whether Xbox 8 is the name of the next console
- With Windows 8 on the way, the name could suggest a connection
Wait -- we weren't done pondering the Xbox 720. So what, if anything, is "Xbox 8"?
The real, no-fun, answer is "maybe nothing." But it's been enough to kick up a round of speculation among tech and gaming enthusiasts after Microsoft fought, and won, against a cybersquatter who had grabbed the Web address for that name.
The National Arbitration Forum, which handles international business disputes, ruled in Microsoft's favor in a complaint against a Chinese national who had filed for a whole host of addresses representing both current and imagined products.
They included XboxPhone.com, XboxTablet.com, XboxLiveTV.com, XboxCompanion.com, Xbox8.us and Xbox8.org.
Microsoft filed the complaints in May. Tech site Fusible reports that the domains listed in the disputes were ordered transferred to Microsoft in late June after two separate panels found the man who filed for them had no rights to the domains and that they were being used "in bad faith."
The inclusion of "Xbox 8" may have just been a matter of Microsoft gaining control over anything that looks as if it should be theirs. But its inclusion alongside other names that are easier to explain sparked speculation online Tuesday about what the name might mean.
Many observers immediately wondered whether it might be the name of the next Xbox gaming and entertainment console.
Microsoft is widely expected to roll out a new version of its popular Xbox 360 console within the next year. The name most people expect? Xbox 720.
Last month, a 56-page document from Microsoft was leaked. Dating back to mid-2010, the document contained plans for an "Xbox 720" that utilizes the new Xbox SmartGlass system and new hardware for its Kinect motion-recognition system.
Perhaps a better guess is that "Xbox 8" could be software. Windows 8 promises to be a massive overhaul of the operating system that will marry PCs with tablets and smartphones. It stands to reason that the Xbox will be included and "Xbox 8" would make sense in this regard.
Of course, imagining a new console is more exciting.
"XBox 8? Didn't know the XBox 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 came out," one Twitter user wrote.
Alas, says gaming site Joystiq:
"It's tempting to suspect Microsoft is eyeing 'Xbox 8' as the next console name due to the two domains that reference it; however, Microsoft already began integrating Xbox Live, and the 'Xbox' name, into all its consumer products, including Windows 8. Also, it would be really weird if a domain squatter guessed the name."