Microsoft has rebranded its long-standing online service Xbox Live to Xbox Network, the company has confirmed in an interview with The Verge.
The change was initially spotted by users on Twitter, who spotted that the Xbox Dashboard no longer referred to Xbox Live.
“’Xbox network’ refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement,” said a Microsoft spokesperson to The Verge. “The update from ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’ is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.”
The Xbox Live branding dates back 18 years, ever since its original launch.
There have been rumours about a name change for some time now, with initial rumours appearing last August, with the company denying that it had no plans to discontinue Xbox Live Gold. In fact, Microsoft briefly attempted a price hike for the service, one that it was forced to quickly reverse following a backlash.
Microsoft’s changing approach to Xbox Live may be related to the increasing significance of Game Pass. Microsoft has been eager to push Game Pass subscriptions – particularly the more expensive Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles together Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold, and Xbox Cloud Gaming (previously known as Project xCloud). The brief price hike for Xbox Live may have been intended to encourage users towards Game Pass Ultimate instead.