Earlier today there were murmurs that Microsoft was on the verge of rebranding one of its most iconic services, Xbox Live. The name has always been the name of Microsoft’s online features going all the way back to the original Xbox when the service launched way back in 2002. But everything changes, and now it’s due for a name change, but it does not seem as if anything functionally is changing with it, at least as of now.
As reported by The Verge, Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Live will be officially dropped as a naming convention for their online network. Now, it may be somewhat confusing, but this does not mean the end of the Xbox Live paywall. This is simply a renaming of the online infrastructure. The subscription service of Xbox Live Gold will still continue, though it’s unclear if that too will get a name change of some kind in the future. As a Microsoft spokesperson said to the Verge, “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.”
Xbox Live introduced paid online to console play back in 2002 and since then both Sony and Nintendo have followed suite. There have been rumors that paid online will be going away in the Xbox ecosystem, but that has not materialized. Whether this is a first step in that is anyone’s guess, though as of right now, it seems nothing fundamental will actually change.