Microsoft says that it has no plans to discontinue the Xbox Live service, despite language in a recent document that some interpreted otherwise.
After announcing changes to its services agreement, Microsoft has clarified that it has no intention of renaming Xbox Live or of discontinuing Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft's paid subscription service is required for Xbox One players to experience online multiplayer, a fact which has caused an awkward relationship between online gamers on the Xbox One and people playing the exact same games on PC and not having to pay anything for online gameplay.
It is a tumultuous time for Microsoft as its new console, the Xbox Series X, prepares to compete with Sony's PlayStation 5. The upcoming next-gen consoles are being advertised relentlessly, with a slew of new video games revealed for both of them. But video games aren't the only thing that matters during the release of a new console. New forms of technology must be released to support the consoles' bold new technical innovations, and online services have to be set up to ensure a smooth, enjoyable experience for players. And with the next generation's holiday release inching ever closer, there's still a lot that's up in the air.
One thing that's a point of some contention is Xbox Live, which has served as the online internet service for the Xbox line ever since the first console released in 2002. In a recent update to the Microsoft Services Agreement, the tech giant replaced the term "Xbox Live" with "the Xbox online service," which indicated to some keen-eyed viewers that Xbox Live was being rebranded, or possibly done away with completely. Microsoft recently clarified this language in a statement to The Verge, claiming that the phrase "Xbox online service" was only used to set free features like friend requests from the premium services provided by Xbox Live Gold. No actual changes are coming to the Xbox Live service.
Microsoft also stated that it had no intention to discontinue Xbox Live Gold, which some people speculated would be the case as Microsoft moved into the new console generation. It's clear that the service has been on something of a decline as Microsoft's more popular online service, Xbox Game Pass, continues to grow and thrive. Xbox Live Gold also introduces logistical problems to the world of online gaming, especially when considering games like Halo Infinite, a launch title for the Xbox Series X. Developers recently announced that the multiplayer mode of Halo Infinite would be completely free to play. If Xbox Live Gold persists into the new console generation, that could be a significant problem for the new console, as players may not be willing to pay for something they could get for free on PC.
This question and many more are ones that Microsoft will have to answer before the Xbox Series X releases. There's a lot to get excited for from the new console generation, but there's also a lot that's completely unknown. Microsoft and Sony both have a lot of knowledge gaps to fill before their consoles are released, and how well they do that could have a big impact on the next generation.
Source: The Verge