Microsoft renames Xbox Live to 'Xbox network'

Xbox Live
(Image credit: MIcrosoft)
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Microsoft is changing the name of Xbox Live to the more prosaic Xbox network, a change the company told The Verge (opens in new tab) will enable it to better differentiate its online networks from the Xbox Live Gold subscription offering.

The change was noticed over the weekend by attentive Xbox Live users:

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"'Xbox network' refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement,” a Microsoft rep told the site. "The update from ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’ is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships."

Interestingly, rumors of a looming name change first came to light in August 2020, when Microsoft "changed Xbox Live to refer to Xbox online service" in its services agreement. The company denied (opens in new tab) that a name change was in the offing in a statement quite similar to the one it released today, saying that the change to the service terms "refers to the underlying Xbox service that includes features like cross-saves and friend requests."

"This language update is intended to distinguish that underlying service, and the paid Xbox Live Gold subscription," Microsoft said at the time. "There are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold."

The Xbox Live name change follows similar recent moves from Electronic Arts, which renamed Origin (opens in new tab) to the EA Desktop App in September 2020, and Ubisoft, which merged Uplay and Ubisoft Club into Ubisoft Connect (opens in new tab) a month later. Blizzard tried something similar (opens in new tab) with Battle.net in 2017, but it was eventually forced to acknowledge that "Battle.net" was a pretty great name to begin with, and switched back (opens in new tab).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.