Microsoft officially ends 'Xbox Live' brand, changes to 'Xbox network'

Xbox Live Sign
Xbox Live Sign (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Live refers to the underlying network technologies that have powered Xbox for nearly two decades.
  • Recently, Xbox Insiders noticed that mentions of "Xbox Live" were disappearing from the Xbox console.
  • Microsoft has now confirmed in a statement that Xbox Live is officially rebranded to Xbox network.
  • Xbox Live Gold isn't changing right now, but the Xbox Live branding is being retired.

Xbox Live is a well-known brand that has been synonymous with Xbox online since the console's debut 18 years ago. However, Xbox Insiders recently began noticing that mentions of the Xbox Live brand disappeared from the Xbox Dashboard, most noticeably when trying to upload and share game captures like screenshots on Xbox or view already-uploaded captures. Eagle-eyed people also noticed that the Microsoft Services Agreement (opens in new tab) was updated to remove any mentions of Xbox Live.

In a statement to the Verge, Microsoft has officially confirmed speculations: Xbox Live is being rebranded to Xbox network, and the long-running brand is being retired.

From a Microsoft spokesperson: "'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."

In recent years, the importance of the Xbox Live brand has diminished significantly in the wake of Xbox Game Pass and its exponential growth (the list of games coming and going from Xbox Game Pass is huge). With this change, the Xbox Live Gold subscription, which lets gamers play online multiplayer games on Xbox, isn't going away or being altered at all. Still, even Xbox Live Gold has lessened in importance with its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is one of the best values in gaming, and combines a ton of different benefits in one. Get the most out of your subscription by checking out our list of Best Games for Xbox Game Pass.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Wow, not surprised though.
  • Another month, another name change.
  • Another hostile takeover, Another discontinued app.
  • You have no clue what hostile take over is. If it's for sale it can't be an hostile take over. An hostile take over is when a company buys back stocks from the second market usually offering more than the market price to acquire enough shares of a company to take control without the said company accord. And if an app disappears it's because people don't use it enough to be viable. MS is not gonna close something that produce revenue. Yeah sure it sucks for the users that do use it, but at the end consumers dictate the market
  • Takeover is one word. You might want to check the source of your clues
  • And hostile is a word too. And the point of contention You might want to check your source.
  • Hahaha . I've been saying this all week. Don't fkn trust Microsoft to do good by Discord. If they buy Discord it's purely to eliminate the competition and strip the proprietary code to dump into Xbox chat.
  • It's the last project without a boring name, why don't they just rename xBox to the Microsoft Gaming Console
  • You might be on to something there
  • Xbox Live is still a brand, Xbox network is an umbrella term encompassing Xbox Live. If they are retiring anything it might be the term "Gold"
  • Xbox Live. (Gold ?)
    Thanks for 18 years Xbox online.
  • The MS explanation holds water if you stop to think about it: XBOX Network is the platform, XBOX LIVE is the service. With free to play games no longer requiring a subscription to Gold it makes sense: you log in to the XBOX network to go online be it for free to play, paid gaming, socializing, streaming, or (eventually) Cloud Gaming. There is a tendency to forget XBOX LIVE is a social network (Microsoft's fault, really) and not just a platform for online gaming. So distinguishing between the two now that the communication platform supports more features is sensible. It's just poorly communicated, which is par for the course at MS. What they should have set is they are separating the two aspects of XBL, the backbone you log in and the services you get because it is no longer limited to consoles. I still think they need to bring back talk of XBL Silver as the lowest, free, tier of service on the Network, that lets you access the store, authenticates digital games, backs up saves, let's you chat/message, stream music and video, etc . That would make things clearer: XBL Silver, XBL Gold, Game Pass, Game Pass Ultimate being a list of services running atop the XBOX Network. What we have is yet another failure to communicate.
  • Yeah once again i agree. Then again MS is is historically an OS, server productivity suite software company, not really the kind of people with an out of the box way of thinking and not trendy fashionistas.the old hello i'm a PC and hello i'm a mac with Justin is pretty much the right representation of what the company looks like at its roots lol. They've come a long way, but you still have that nerdy dead weight smell in the air.
  • Which is fine, because not all of us want to be hipster dead weight either :) Choices...
  • Simpler yet: MS is and has always been a tools company.
    That is why everything they do ends up scriptable to one extent or another.
    They don't really do many black box, hardwired, my way or the highway, apps.
    They typically start with a platform and then add ways for customization and watch what happens.
    Apropos of XBOX, the boxes are just ways to host DirectX content, a tool for developers and gamers to interact. The evolution of XBL is classic MS: they gave the consoles online capability and then watched how people used them and evolved it accordingly. Gamepass is the current iteration. And the "nerdiness" isn't dead weight, it's the company's strength. They aren't particulaly good at communication or marketing but they are laser focused on the mission, whatever the mission du jour might be. They lost some of that under Ballmer's ADD but Nadella has brought back the long view and added a measure of mild-seeming sneakiness. (They do a lot of sleight of hand. "Look at this. Never mind that console on tbe bookcase behind me." ) Underestimate the nerds (and in this case, Series S) at your peril.
  • Well, a name change for the sake of a change. That's how it starts. Might as well say your goodbyes now. It will make the end easier.
  • Meh, nothing to see here. Name change makes sense for the platform.