Before I joined Torpex Games I kicked around a lot of names for what I'd name my game studio if I founded a game studio. (Other guys think up rock band names. I think up game studio names. There it is.) The name would have to satisfy several criteria:
1) It needed to be unique. I'd want my company to be the first thing that came up on Google if you did a search on it. This is good for legal reasons as well. It may be why so many Japanese imports are unlikely word-pairs - "Guilty Gear", "Vagrant Story", "Kingdom Hearts"... and is no doubt part of the reason why all these Web 2.0 companies have names that are hard to tell from Star Wars.
2) But unlike the Web 2.0 companies, I'd want the name to actually mean something. Something cool. And there's the rub: if your name means something cool, it's probably already taken many times over, and has a zillion hits on Google.
3) But I'm not done! I'd also want the name to be sticky. If you read off a list of names to someone, and the company name was in there, I'd want them to remember *that* name.
4) After spending a decade at "Treyarch" - I'd want it to be a name you could figure out how to pronounce by just looking at it. (Hands up who actually knows how to pronounce "Treyarch"...)
Extra Credit) Speaking of "Treyarch" someone once told me that the guy who founded "Starbucks" and "Red Hook" said that the secret to a successful company was a two syllable name that started with a consonant and ended with that hard-c / k sound. ("Treyarch" satisfies this criteria...if you know how to pronounce it, that is.) It was just cocktail party conversation but, hey, it stuck. Somewhere there are highly paid branding consultants that come up with this stuff...
Anyhow, I never did find a name that fit all, or even most, of the criteria.
But Bill did - and he didn't even know what my criteria were. "I was thinking maybe something along the lines of Depth Charge when I came across it," he said.
Torpex, by the way, is a kind of explosive they used in torpedoes back in the day. So it does mean something. Something cool. And right now, if you do an unadorned search for "Torpex" on Google, we're the third result. (Always need to make sure I've got personalized searching turned off before I make statements like that...) Someday we'll be the first!
that said, names are one of those things that everybody has an opinion
on and likes to argue about (it took several months to settle on Die By The Sword...) but names have very little impact on success. They're just really fun to have an opinion on and argue about...