Ahead of Microsoft’s expected reveal of their next generation Xbox console — which is rumored to be taking place sometime this April — the company has been engaging in a very aggressive effort to pick up every possible “Xbox Gold” related domain.
This Xbox Gold-rush appears to have first started about two weeks ago when Microsoft filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum over the XboxGold.org domain. The very next day the company followed up with another complaint over Xbox-Gold.com — which seems to have scared the pants off the owner of XboxGold.com, who promptly handed over his/her domain to the company this past week.
In addition to those websites, Microsoft has also manged to recently register or acquire the following list of Xbox Gold domain names; XboxGold.cn, XboxGold.es, XboxGold.eu, XboxGold.in, XboxGold.com.au, and XboxGold.asia.
While it is entirely possible that Microsoft is simply protecting their IP ownership over their Xbox Live Gold subscription service, Fusible (the domain registration sleuth who has uncovered all of this) speculations that there is a bit more to it. According to their report, this mass domain grab indicates that the company intends to name their unannounced next generation console the Xbox Gold.
With no solid information to go on (and no comment from Microsoft) that guess is just as good as any other, however, I’m doubtful that Microsoft is really going to name their next console Xbox Gold. The biggest problem with that train of thought is that they have built up a strong brand name with Gold being attached to Xbox Live. Suddenly moving that name over to the new console would certainly create some amount of unnecessary confusion.
My best guess is that Xbox Gold has something to do with their Xbox Live service — possibly even the Xbox TV set-top box that was rumored to be an upcoming “low-cost entertainment alternative” to the next console.
Let us know what you think of the Xbox Gold domain registrations in the comments below. Is it the name of Microsoft’s next Xbox, or something else entirely?
[Update] A NeoGAF user has uncovered an internal Microsoft agenda for an “invite only” event on March 7th that references “Xbox Gold & Entertainment”. Assuming the leaked agenda is legitimate, the “invite only” status would suggest that we will hear about Xbox Gold sometime after the event takes place.