Xbox Live Officially Rebranded to Xbox Network to Keep It Distinct from XBL Gold

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Xbox Live is now officially called Xbox network, as Microsoft confirmed a few hours ago after some users had already spotted the change while using the platform.

A spokesperson clarified that the change is all about keeping Xbox Live Gold, the console-only subscription tier which is required for multiplayer gaming, distinct from the Xbox network itself.

Xbox Live Gold Won’t be Required for Free-to-Play Games and Party Chat Soon

While not much, if anything at all, will change for the end-user, the Xbox Live brand has meant a great deal to multiplayer gaming as a whole. Originally launched on November 15th, 2002, one year after the debut of the first Xbox console, Xbox Live effectively propelled the console market into the online era and it would be many years before competitors Sony and Nintendo made any serious attempts at matching its offering.

In the past few months, rumors swirled about XBL Gold being retired in favor of an entirely free multiplayer experience on Xbox consoles. However, Microsoft eventually announced a move in the opposite direction, detailing increased prices (1-month subscription at $10.99, 3-months subscription at $29.99, and the 6-months subscription at $59.99) across all XBL Gold plans.

That announcement was quickly met with a huge backlash from the community, forcing Microsoft to reconsider. Additionally, the company promised to allow users to play free-to-play games without an active XBL Gold subscription.

We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.

We’re turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox. We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.

If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.

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