Update: Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Live is now officially Xbox network.
In a statement to The Verge (opens in new tab), the company said: "'Xbox network’ refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement. The update from ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’ is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.”
So while it means we won't be seeing Xbox Network Gold any time soon, the name change is official.
Original: Xbox Live could well be getting a name change to Xbox Network, after eagle-eyed fans spotted a new name on the console.
Several Twitter users have noticed that their Xbox Series X now refer to the “Xbox network” in place of using the standard Xbox Live label.
The change was first spotted a couple of days ago by Twitter user @EvilBoris who screenshotted the Xbox capture manager which now shows “on the Xbox network” in place of “on Xbox Live” when you’re managing your clips. This was corroborated by Tom Warren of The Verge (opens in new tab)who also spotted a reference to the Xbox network on his capture manager too.
Dashboard no longer refers to it as Xbox Live pic.twitter.com/nVf0BQ9ABlMarch 20, 2021
So, what does this all mean for the future of Xbox Live? Right now we don’t know, but this change has led to rampant speculation about changes to come including the often rumoured (and never delivered) axing of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Having to pay for online gaming has always been a contentious issue amongst the console gaming community, especially when PC players have no such restrictions.
With services like Xbox Live, Xbox Play Anywhere, and Xbox Game Pass blurring the lines between PC and console gamers, paying for online multiplayer is sticking out as a bit of a relic of gaming ages gone past.
We’re more cautious when it comes to this kind of speculation for one simple reason though. Microsoft tried to raise the price of Xbox Live Gold by 50% back in January, before backtracking amidst a hugely negative response from Xbox fans. It seems unlikely that Microsoft will jump from doubling the price to wiping it out in the space of three months.