Xbox Live has been a long-standing fixture of the Xbox ecosystem since its launch in 2002. It’s the umbrella term for the entire suite of internet-dependent features Xbox users have had access to, like the Xbox Live Marketplace and Xbox Live Arcade. However, the name is on its way out. After some hints towards the change, Microsoft confirmed that Xbox Live is officially becoming Xbox network.
In a statement to Game Informer, a Microsoft spokesperson explained the reasoning behind the change. “Xbox network refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement,” said the spokesperson. “The update from ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’ is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.”
What that means in plain English is that Xbox Live Gold isn’t going anywhere. If you’re gaming on an Xbox and want to use online services, like multiplayer, you’re still going to be an Xbox Live Gold member.
It seems that the Xbox network will instead be an umbrella term for all the online gaming services offered to Xbox players. Distinguishing the two makes sense. As Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate gain popularity separating the two should clarify what services players are paying for.