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This article was published on March 23, 2021

A totally necessary ‘analysis’ of Microsoft’s Xbox Live rebranding

A scientific, mathematical, and literary dissection of the move to Xbox network

A totally necessary ‘analysis’ of Microsoft’s Xbox Live rebranding
Callum Booth
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Callum Booth

Managing Editor

Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional odd video.

Once in a blue moon, I’m struck by events so monumental that I’m forced to sit and hyperventilate into a paper bag until black spots appear in my vision and the pain of existence dissipates into a pinprick — something I had to do today because Microsoft rebranded ‘Xbox Live’ to ‘Xbox network’.

Before we delve into the analysis this switch-up requires, let me pull out my powdery context bag and sprinkle it over your appalled-looking face.

Xbox Live is Microsoft’s online and “digital media delivery service.” If you wanted to actually play games online, then you had to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold.

You could argue that the rebranding to Xbox network is just a way of making each of these services’ aims clearer, but if that’s your argument, then Big Bill has gotten to you and it’s already too late for me to do anything about that.

For the rest of you, let’s crack open this rabbit hole and take a deep swig. (Hold on, what?)

Rebranding Xbox Live: the capital letter issue

You notice this? It was Xbox Live and now it’s… Xbox network. Live to network. Look again:

Where did the capital letter go? Who took it? Does it count as kidnapping? Should I engage the authorities? Do I need to blink in morse code?

Generally, title case is for fools and cowards, but this alteration of ‘Live’ to ‘network’ feels wrong, it’s as though something beautiful and important has been wrenched away from me, from us, even.

And all I have to say about that is nay. Or, should I say, Nay.

The rebrand to Xbox network: more letters = better

While we may have lost a capital letter in the rebranding, there is something we gained: letters. Now, I’m not a scientist, but I do know that MORE = BETTER. You can’t disagree with that.

Now we’ve got that bit out the way, let me slip into my mathematician robe…

  • Live = four letters
  • Network = seven letters

That’s a 75% length increase. This isn’t a number that you could just make up, this is real maths. We’re in the future.

Live vs. network: what does it mean?

We’ve got scientific, now it’s time to get literary.

Currently, it appears that the rebrand of Xbox Live to Xbox network is neutral, as each name had a positive point in its favor, but that’s all going to change. Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I think rebranding to “network” over “Live” shows that Microsoft is intent on turning us from independent, living and breathing creatures into merely tiny nodes of a giant infrastructure so it can use our bodies to power huge machines whose sole purpose seems to be farming people?

Or was that The Matrix? Anyway, tell me one good thing involved with a “network?” LinkedIn? My point is proven.


Microsoft has rebranded Xbox Live to Xbox network. That’s a fact.

What we don’t know is whether this is part of a dastardly conspiracy to control our minds and crush our spirits, or is just a way of making the Xbox ecosystem easier to understand. Actually, that’s a lie — I do know. It’s the former.

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