Update - August 4: In a new playful tweet, Xbox clarified that the new Xbox Game Pass logo which drops the Xbox name is merely a cosmetic change, not a branding pivot meant to distinguish the service from its home brand.
As previously reported, the service's abrupt rebranding followed a series of curious moves from Xbox regarding its online and subscription services, most notably the withdrawal of 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions and the reveal of Halo Infinite free-to-play multiplayer. All of this implied that Xbox will significantly alter its online services for the next console generation, and the Game Pass rebranding seemed to suggest that it could also be due for systemic changes. However, while other Xbox services may yet receive big shake-ups in the months ahead, it seems Game Pass is holding steady – it's just wearing a new hat.
Microsoft is rebranding its Xbox Game Pass service.
As showcased on the official Twitter accounts for Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass on PC, while the word Xbox has been retained in the handles along with the recognisable Xbox logo, the service itself has been rebranded as simply "Game Pass".
The header image on the official Twitter account – which currently features Obsidian's Grounded – has also been updated to say "play now with Game Pass".
"Trying out a new look," teased the Game Pass Twitter account (thanks, Thurrott). "Same," responded Game Pass for PC.
Same https://t.co/mlLWJGKHcxAugust 1, 2020
It's an interesting decision and one that's drawn a raised eyebrow from fans, particularly as Microsoft recently withdrew its 12-month Xbox Live subscriptions from sale in its Microsoft stores. While codes are still available via third-party retailers elsewhere, the option to buy the 12-month subscription plan – which offered the best value to players – was digitally delisted without notification, prompting some to presume it was made in error. Clearly, Microsoft is shaking things up ahead of the launch of its next-gen system, Xbox Series X.
Microsoft is also no longer making the Xbox One X or the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. In the lead-up to starting its next generation with Xbox Series X, Microsoft confirmed that it will no longer manufacture two out of the three systems that make up the current Xbox One family. The standard Xbox One S, which is distinguished from the All-Digital Edition by its inclusion of a Blu-ray drive and higher price, is the only one sticking around for the time being.
"As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we're taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. Xbox One S will continue to be manufactured and sold globally," Microsoft said in a statement at the time.
Check out our big guide to upcoming Xbox Series X games.