Microsoft isn’t planning to rename Xbox Live or discontinue Xbox Live Gold. Rumors of an Xbox Live rename appeared this week, after Microsoft announced changes to its services agreement. The software giant started referring to Xbox Live as the “Xbox online service,” prompting some to assume Xbox Live was going away.
“The update to ‘Xbox online service’ in the Microsoft Services Agreement refers to the underlying Xbox service that includes features like cross-saves and friend requests,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “This language update is intended to distinguish that underlying service, and the paid Xbox Live Gold subscription. There are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold.”
Recent rumors have also speculated that Xbox Live Gold is going away or perhaps even being made free. I asked Microsoft to comment on the rumors, and the company said: “We have no plans to discontinue Xbox Live Gold at this time. It is an important part of gaming on Xbox today, and will continue to be in the future.”
While it’s clear Xbox Live Gold isn’t going away, Microsoft’s statement doesn’t mean the service won’t be made free at some point in the future. Microsoft still requires Xbox One owners, and potentially Xbox Series X owners, to purchase an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play multiplayer games online. Windows 10 players of Xbox Live-enabled games do not require the same subscription, however.
This split gets especially tricky for games like Halo Infinite, which Microsoft has promised will have a free-to-play multiplayer mode. If Microsoft does continue Xbox Live Gold as a paid service on Xbox consoles, then PC players will get totally free access to Halo Infinite and Xbox players will not.
Microsoft isn’t specifically commenting about the free rumors around Xbox Live, which started when the company removed the 12-month option for Xbox Live Gold from its online store last month. It’s clear today that the company isn’t planning on discontinuing Xbox Live Gold specifically or renaming Xbox Live.