UPDATE 23/3/21: In a statement to Eurogamer this morning, Microsoft has explained the recent branding change for its underlying online infrastructure. In short, the new Xbox network phrasing is more "descriptive", the company said, and none of the systems, subscriptions or anything else you actually use were changing.
"Xbox Live isn't going away," Microsoft told Eurogamer. "We are making ongoing adjustments to create a simpler, more descriptive messaging system for Xbox in different areas. None of these experiences or features will change as part of these updates."
ORIGINAL STORY 22/3/21: Microsoft is renaming Xbox Live, its underlying online multiplayer and digital media delivery service, to 'Xbox network', a move it says will help distinguish it from Xbox Live Gold.
The name Xbox Live has been in use since the service's debut alongside the original Xbox in 2002. However, hints of an imminent rebranding - one that Microsoft denied at the time - emerged last August when the name was dropped from its updated Services Agreement in favour of 'Xbox online service'.
Now though, with users noticing the removal of the Xbox Live moniker in Microsoft's recent Xbox dashboard beta, the company has made the rebranding to 'Xbox network' official.
"'Xbox network' refers to the underlying Xbox online service, which was updated in the Microsoft Services Agreement," a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge in a statement.
"The update from 'Xbox Live' to 'Xbox network' is intended to distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships", it continued.
Xbox Live Gold made headlines at the start of the year when Microsoft announced a price hike for the subscription service.
The move was heavily criticised, coming as it did amid a pandemic and a global financial crisis, and the decision was quickly reversed, with Microsoft also announcing it would finally make free-to-play games playable without a subscription on Xbox.