Xbox Live Name Is Changing To Xbox Network, But XBL Gold Isn't Going Away
Microsoft will now refer to the Xbox Live service as the Xbox network, but that doesn't change how Xbox Live Gold works.
Going forward, Microsoft will officially refer to Xbox Live as "Xbox network." Despite this name adjustment, the corresponding Xbox Live Gold subscription service isn't changing--you'll still need it to play games online. Instead, Microsoft says that the name change is just about helping to separate the overall network from the subscription service it offers.
Microsoft reporter Tom Warren was among the first to notice the change. The dashboard on Xbox now refers to Xbox Live as the "Xbox network," prompting speculation that Microsoft might be considering a name change for its online service. GameSpot can confirm having seen this name change as well on an Xbox Series X. It's immediately noticeable and odd that the word "network" is not capitalized. If "Xbox Network" were the new name for Xbox Live, one would imagine the n in network would be capitalized.
Lending further fuel to the speculation that Xbox Live branding is going away is the fact that Microsoft spokesperson Larry Hryb has changed his YouTube channel name from "Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson" to "Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson."
However, as noted above, it appears the change is more innocuous than it might first appear. In a statement shared with GameSpot, a spokesperson said, "'Xbox network' refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement. The update from 'Xbox Live' to 'Xbox network' is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships."
Microsoft caught a lot of heat earlier this year when it announced a price hike for Xbox Live Gold--a move that the company swiftly reversed. Not only that, but Microsoft announced it was dropping the Xbox Live Gold requirement for free-to-play games. Some people believe Microsoft is looking to phase out Xbox Live entirely, as the company focuses on its future with Xbox Game Pass.