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Microsoft renews the 'XCLOUD' trademark for Xbox Cloud Gaming

Backbone One Controller
(Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • XCloud was the code name for what is now known as Xbox Cloud Gaming. 
  • Xbox Cloud Gaming gives you access to dozens of Xbox games playable on the web, Android, Xbox consoles, and some select smart TVs.
  • Microsoft has renewed the "XCLOUD" trademark name, but will they ever use the brand?

Don't call it XCloud! Or, maybe, do?

When Microsoft first debuted its long-in-waiting Xbox cloud streaming platform, it was under the project codename XCloud, which is sharp and punchy, and memorable. Since then, however, the official name has moved over to Xbox Cloud Gaming, which is functional, but not exactly what I'd describe as fun. Perhaps Microsoft agrees?

For those who might be unaware, Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft's Netflix-like video game streaming service baked into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. In supported regions, it allows you play dozens of games on smart devices like phones using touch controls, or with a connected gamepad for Android, the web via Xbox.com/play, Windows PCs via the Xbox app, or even Xbox consoles, priced at $15 per month. 

Spotted by Aggiornamenti Lumia, Microsoft actually just renewed the trademark listing for the XCLOUD brand. The type code used describes its use falling under "Entertainment services, namely, providing online video games; rental of video games; providing entertainment information and video game tournaments and competitions via a website." 

(Image credit: USPTO)

Does this mean Microsoft might switch up the Xbox Cloud Gaming branding some day? Probably not, although it's not impossible. It could be that Microsoft is simply protecting itself, given that many people refer to Xbox Cloud Gaming as XCloud, including the primary subreddit for the service. 

We use the phrase "Xcloud" in many of our articles because the search volume on the term is still incredibly high, although since Fortnite hit the service some months ago, an entirely new audience discovered the platform and now know it primarily as Xbox Cloud Gaming. You can see below how Xbox Cloud Gaming and XCloud were fairly neck and neck on search coverage, and then the relative explosion that occurred once Fortnite hit the service. 

Data showing XCloud phrase being phased out for Xbox Cloud Gaming

(Image credit: Google Trends)

Microsoft's naming conventions often fall on the explicit over the abstract. For what they lack in style, they often make up for in clarity. "Xbox Cloud Gaming" might be clunky to read, but at least it directly explains what it is. Amazon Luna, Google Stadia, and GeForce Now aren't as obvious at a glance what they actually are. 

You'd be forgiven for thinking Amazon Luna is some kind of cleaning product, or that Stadia is another ill-fated Google attempt at a social network. But as we move further into mainstream adoption of these kinds of services, perhaps having a cooler, abstract name like "XCLOUD" on hand for stylistic purposes is a smart bet for Microsoft to have. 

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!