As Microsoft continues to add services to its premium Xbox Live Gold membership, the no-cost version of Xbox Live looks less and less appealing. Now it'll have an even tackier name: "Xbox Live Free."
The news first broke with a tweet from Graeme Boyd, who is essentially the European version of America's Xbox poster boy Major Nelson. "Just been told that 'Xbox LIVE Silver Membership' will now officially be called 'Xbox Live Free Membership'. The times they are a-changin," wrote Boyd.
Above: Here is what he wrote in image form, if you didn't believe us for some reason
We can't say exactly why Microsoft would choose to change the name of the service without anyone really complaining about it, but we assume the change is just to clarify the difference between the free and pay services. "Silver" wasn't particularly descriptive.
Microsoft is set to add a slew of new features to its online offering, including streaming music from its Zune service, live ESPN connectivity, and the ability for AT&T U-verse TV subscribers to watch TV from their Xbox. However, it remains the only console to charge users for the privilege of playing games online. Sony only recently introduced PlayStation Plus, whichis morelike a club membership than a fee to use online services. And the price of Xbox Live Gold is going up by $10 a year. Of course, Xbox Live is consistently ranked as the top online console service, so you get what you pay for.
The bottom line, though, is if Xbox Live Silver members didn't already feel cheap, they'll now have an even more stigmatic name attached to their account.
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