Xbox Live To Become Xbox Network In Re-Branding Shift - Comic Years
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Xbox Live To Become Xbox Network In Re-Branding Shift

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BY March 23, 2021

Back in 2002, I was shocked that my Xbox could connect to the internet. Nevertheless, Xbox Live allowed for the gaming experience Sega attempted to capture with the Dreamcast. Online gaming changed a lot in the last 19 years. One thing that had yet to change was the Xbox Live name, but soon it will, too. With the ever-expanding Xbox ecosystem, things could probably use a refresh, including outdated names and user interfaces. While we wait patiently for a new dashboard, it appears that the name change for Microsoft’s online gaming interface is going for something much sleeker and simple. Microsoft is officially changing Xbox Live to become Xbox Network as the company looks ahead to a new batch of gamers joining the console/PC gaming family.

Out with the Old: Xbox Live to Become the Xbox Network

xbox live becoming xbox network Image Credit: Microsoft/Xbox Game Studios

Name changes are fun because very little is actually changing. Still, Xbox Live is in the vernacular for Xbox gamers and has been for almost two decades. It’s odd seeing the change but it’s probably time to move to something a bit broader. In the latest Microsoft Services Agreement, references to Xbox Network appear but the company confirmed to The Verge that this change is in direct relation to Xbox Live. If you’re a longtime Xbox player, then it’ll be a while before the name change sinks in. Just while writing this article I’ve had a hard time typing Xbox Network. I don’t have an affinity for the name per se, but it’s ingrained in my understanding of the Xbox experience.

Why does a name change like this matter? Well, Xbox Live harkens back to the odd, experimental color schemes and laboratory visuals of the older Xbox consoles. It’s also a bit redundant for the name of an online gaming platform; we know online gaming is “live.” Xbox Network feels more mature and all-encompassing. It also helps to welcome in the PC player base to the Xbox ecosystem. Things like Bethesda exclusivity confirmed for Xbox and PC and exclusives coming to both platforms are a conscious choice for Microsoft. They understand the console isn’t the point anymore; Xbox Game Pass subscriptions are the goal.

Still, one can’t help but wear a wistful smile seeing the name change. Xbox is rebranding into something much more than just a gaming console. It’s now an entire way to experience games, from xCloud to Game Pass and even multimedia consumption. It’s a new era for Xbox after a slew of disappointments and letdowns. Bon voyage, Xbox Live, we had a good run.

Featured Image Credit: Xbox


Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.


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