"The update to the 'Xbox Online Service ' in Microsoft Services Agreement refers to the underlying Xbox service which includes features such as cross-backups and requests from friends, "Microsoft told GameSpot . "This Language update is intended to distinguish this underlying service from the Xbox Live Gold paid subion. There are no changes to the service or Xbox Live Gold experience. "
In other words, this change in service contract was exactly what it appeared to be: verbiage and nothing mores. This statement will end any rumors that Xbox Live Gold will be discontinued entirely in favor of a more unified online component. That said, the wording around "service experience" leaves the door open to other incremental changes, which would be expected from any service adding a new platform - in this case, Xbox Series X - to its. listing.
In another move suggesting an imminent Xbox multiplayer overhaul, Microsoft is removing direct references to Xbox Live from its service contract and replaces them with "Xbox Online Services ".
As a Twitter sleuth Wario64 , the verbiage change has been highlighted in a new listing of updates to the service contract. The switch from Xbox Live services to Xbox online services was part of a larger flattening of terms, with Xbox consoles replacing endorsements specific to Xbox 360 and Xbox One. However, Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold are still mentioned under "Covered Services " in the updated service contract , but not under the Xbox header itself.
The console mentions were presumably changed to simplify and unify Microsoft messaging before the release of the Xbox Series X, which will take in charge four generations of games thanks to digital backward compatibility. It's possible that the Xbox Live substitution was just as benign, but it looks sharper given the timing.
A little over two weeks ago, Microsoft removed 12 month Xbox Live Gold subions in stores. This has led many to believe that major changes would come to Xbox Live Gold by the end of the year - or within the six-month deadline of the next bigger subion card. And last week, the company confirmed that multiplayer mode for Halo Infinite , the tentpole launch title for the Xbox Series X , will be free . Together, all of this suggests that Xbox multiplayer - or Xbox online services, you might say - will be redesigned for the next generation.
Are these service contract changes a sign or symptom of upcoming structural changes? Very probably. Is there any concrete evidence that the Xbox Live brand itself is getting the ax? Not at all. As analyst Daniel Ahmad suggested on Twitter, it could be simple email changes. If nothing else, they are proof that Microsoft has tinkered with Xbox Live to some extent. Of course, the real impact of this tinkering remains to be seen.
Microsoft has made one thing clear: it's nenot remove the Xbox name from Xbox Game Pass .