Xbox Live is now officially Xbox Network. Xbox beta testers started noticing the change earlier today, and Microsoft has confirmed the name change for Xbox’s online service.
In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft 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.”
To be clear, Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft’s long-running online subscription service, where players will have access to online gaming as well as some free monthly games through Games With Gold for the price of US$9.99 a month (similar to how Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription works).
Meanwhile, Xbox Live has been used to refer to Xbox’s online service since its original launch on the original Xbox console a whopping 18 years ago. There’s also the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which will now also include the newly-named Xbox Network as well as Xbox Game Pass access for a total of US$15 a month.
In other related news, Microsoft is also planning to drop the subscription requirement for free-to-play games on Xbox Network in the coming months. Games like Fortnite and Rocket League will no longer require Xbox Live Gold (which is a paid subscription), but Microsoft has yet to confirm when exactly this change will be implemented.
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) March 21, 2021