Update (Tue 23rd Mar, 2021 09:30 GMT): Microsoft has now explained what this change is all about in a statement to Video Games Chronicle, revealing that while there are no alterations being made to the service itself, the 'Xbox network' name is meant to "distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.”
"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."
As the company highlights, the Microsoft Services Agreement was updated last August, removing the term 'Xbox Live' and replacing it with 'Xbox online service', which at the time drew a lot of speculation and prompted Microsoft to state that no changes were being made "to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold."
The 'Xbox Live' name has, for the most part, continued to be used ever since, but this new change means that we'll see it a lot less often in the future, if at all. However, Xbox Live Gold won't be impacted by any of this.
Microsoft has provided an updated statement about the name switch to Video Games Chronicle:
“Xbox Live isn’t going away. We are making ongoing adjustments to create a simpler, more descriptive messaging system for Xbox in different areas. None of these experiences or features will change as part of these updates.”
Original story (Sun 21st Mar, 2021 11:45 GMT): Well, this is a bit of a surprise! The term 'Xbox Live' has been in existence ever since the online service's launch back in late 2002, but according to a new Xbox update, it might possibly be about to get some kind of rebrand.
Xbox Insiders with the latest Alpha update have noticed that their consoles' capture libraries are no longer referring to Xbox Live, choosing instead to reference the "Xbox network", with various images having been posted as proof online:
Notably, this follows the news from January in which Microsoft confirmed that free-to-play games would no longer require Xbox Live Gold in the future, and that plans had been cancelled to increase the price of the service.
It was rumoured last year on multiple occasions that Microsoft might choose to phase out Xbox Live Gold entirely and make multiplayer completely free at some point, but nothing official has pointed to that as of yet. We'll have to wait and see whether this change means anything significant in the long run, but we're definitely intrigued by it!
Do you think Xbox Live is about to get a rebrand? Give us your thoughts down below.