Microsoft made an important change the other day to its service agreement, replacing mention of Xbox Live with Xbox online service. We reached out to the company regarding this change, and here’s what one of its spokespersons had to say.
“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. 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.”
The company has clarified here that Xbox Live and its Gold subscription will remain a part of the brand for the foreseeable future, and those wishing to partake in it without committing to the Xbox Game Pass will continue to be able to do so.
Xbox Live has been around since 2002 and the very first Xbox. Its paid Gold service allows for several exclusive features, the most important of which is online multiplayer. It’s a fee that its competitor Sony had never placed on the PlayStation Network, although that changed with the PS4.
However, in recent years, Xbox Game Pass has become the lynchpin subscription that Microsoft has formed its brand around. It allows players to download certain games at no additional cost beyond a monthly fee, including all first-party Xbox games.
The company expanded the scope of the program with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes a selection of games to play on PC and an Xbox Live Gold subscription in one.
Massive changes to Xbox Live Gold, such as the recent inability to purchase a 12-month Xbox Live Gold pass, added more fuel to the idea that Microsoft was retiring the Xbox Live moniker altogether. It even recently announced that its flagship title for Xbox Series X, Halo Infinite, would include free-to-play multiplayer that would not require Gold. With how consumer friendly the company has become regarding its gaming sector, it’s easy to imagine how Microsoft could drop any need for a subscription in order to play games online.
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