KEY POINTS

  • Although the rumors persist, Microsoft is not ending Xbox Live Gold nor renaming Xbox Live
  • These rumors began when Microsoft changes to some wording in its service agreement
  • Xbox Live Gold may not be shutting down, but Microsoft has not clearly defined if the service won't become free at some point down the line

Despite rumors to the contrary, Microsoft has no plans to rename Xbox Live or to end the Xbox Live Gold service.

The rumors started spreading 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,” the statement continued.

Some recent rumors also hinted that Xbox Live Gold would either be shut down or perhaps turned into a free service. In response to the rumors, 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.”

Although Xbox Live Gold might not be going away any time soon, reading between the lines of Microsoft’s statement does not clearly define if the service won’t be turned into a free one at some point in the future.

Currently, Microsoft still requires Xbox One owners, and potentially Xbox Series X owners, to purchase an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play multiplayer games online. However, Windows 10 players of Xbox Live-enabled games are not required to avail of the same subscription.

That seems unfair to Xbox owners, and becomes even more highlighted in the case of games like “Halo Infinite.” Microsoft has already promised that the title will have a free-to-play multiplayer mode even as it is promoted as the headliner for the coming Xbox Series X.

If Microsoft does continue Xbox Live Gold as a paid service on Xbox consoles, then PC players will get absolutely free access to “Halo Infinite” while Xbox players will have to pay for it, notes The Verge.

Since Microsoft removed the 12-month subscription option for Xbox Live Gold last month, the rumors of Xbox Live becoming free began to spread, something which Microsoft has not addressed specifically.

Xbox live logo Backward compatibility is a popular, but infrequently used, feature on current generation consoles. Photo: Microsoft