Microsoft’s strategy for its current generation of consoles, the , differs from its approach in the past. Whereas selling consoles has hitherto involved securing exclusive games and content, Microsoft is this time taking a more service-based approach. Game Pass, a subscription service similar to Netflix, , and Microsoft hopes its xCloud, which allows you to play high-end games on your mobile phone, will be a boon.
So with a change of strategy comes with a change of branding. Xbox Live is no more, as Microsoft quietly rebranded its online service as “Xbox network” over the weekend.
Xbox Live has been what Microsoft has called the console’s online platform, which includes the ability to interact with friends, download games and more. Xbox Live Gold, a subscription service that allows you to play games online, will remain named as such.
“Xbox network’ refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement,” a Microsoft spokesperon said in a statement to CNET. “The update from ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’ is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.”
It may seem a small, cosmetic change, but it’s one that’s hit longtime Xbox gamers in the feels. Xbox Live has existed since 2002, launching on the original Xbox before being updated for each subsequent console. Others noted the name change is likely a portent for expanded online services.