Product codenames let companies get creative, to give the thing they’re making an identity to push towards. They throw the rule book out of the window and call their baby whatever the hell they want before 500 guys in suits can get to it and tear it apart. Sometimes the original name was better, sometimes it was just funnier. In celebration of excellent codenames we’ve put together a list of 13 products that should never have been renamed.
13) Project Morpheus/Playstation VR
For their upcoming Virtual Reality headset, Sony Playstation really couldn’t have replaced a great name with any more “does what it says on the tin” if they’d tried. “How about we keep the name Morpheus. I mean he is the Greek God of dreams and a Matrix character.” “No, you’re scaring people with your out of the box thinking, Roger. Our name has to ground our players in reality, otherwise how will they believe our promise to take them out of it?”
12) Blackberry Venice/Blackberry Priv
It wasn’t massively original but Blackberry Venice at least called to mind a beautiful city of culture. Instead we get Priv. Our editor Holly is right in saying if they don’t use the chance to use the slogan “Check your Priv” this is a massively wasted opportunity.
When the codename Dolphin was released everyone ended up using it so much that it became pretty widely accepted that Nintendo’s latest console would be named after the intelligent sea creature. So it was a bit of a shock when we got the Gamecube; an incredibly different name and shaped, oddly enough, like a cube. Okay, maybe Gamecube was more apt, but we just got so attached to the name dolphin, can you really blame us? Didn’t every kid at one point want to swim with dolphins? Not every kid wanted a Gamecube that’s for sure, so which name was really better?
10) Xenon/XBox 360
Xenon, the noble gas that sounds super cool. Or XBox 360, because there’s a 360 degree ring of light around the power button that everyone hates because it glows red when it dies. Then again, Xenon does glow blue when in an electric field, and green loving XBox wouldn’t appreciate this Playstation blue betrayal from their codename.
9) Odin/Sony Xperia ZL
We think it’s pretty obvious why Odin is so much cooler than Sony Xperia ZL. Odin, Norse God of gods, or a word that kind of vaguely sounds like experience. Hmmm. I’d rather say “This is my Sony Odin” than “This is my Sony Xperia *chokes to death on jumble of numbers and letters*.”
Instead of naming their console Revolution, perhaps hinting that they were revolutionising console gaming, Nintendo named it after the sound you make going down a slide. Not quite as impressive, really.
7) Jedi/Powerbook 150
Oh Apple, Powerbook 150 or Jedi? How did that even happen?
6) Atlantis/Gameboy Advance
Stop dropping names that sound cooler! Although maybe Nintendo didn’t want their console to fall out of favour with the consumer gods and be submerged into the ocean.
5) Project Reality/Nintendo 64
Nintendo at it again. Like Revolution, Project Reality sounds like a bold statement of where they wanted their console to go, what they wanted it to do. Nintendo 64, named after its 64-bit processor doesn’t seem quite as imaginative or as consumer accessible, oddly.
4) Eagle/Xperia M2
Once again we see Sony trying to outdo the majesty of gods and now nature with Xperia. It just won’t do.
The codename for the iPod was the Dulcimer, a neat little string instrument that’s lovely to listen to. At least we know the project started with actual instruments in mind but unfortunately the name doesn’t quite fit in with the direction Apple was going. Just think, you could have been pulling out your iDulcimer if things hadn’t been changed.
2) Katana/Sega Dreamcast
It’s odd that the console so (maybe too) far ahead of its time with the floaty ethereal name Dreamcast was once codenamed Katana, a high-performance weapon of tradition. Perhaps the connotations of codename Katana were more what Sega needed to have their console survive than what they went with in the end.
1) Oculus Thrift/Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard is actually a pretty great name, but Oculus Thrift is just so tongue in cheek, we wish Google had stuck with it.