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On Thursday the platform holder announced a name change for the PC version of the service to simply, “PC Game Pass”, removing Xbox from the brand name.
Xbox’s PC Game Pass profiles have now also been changed to simply, ‘PC Game Pass’ on social media.
Ampere analyst Piers Holding-Rolls commented: “I thought this was a joke but no. It makes sense to lose the Xbox for PC users but then you still have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which includes the PC titles and is available to PC users”
Microsoft’s gaming division has pushed a platform-agnostic strategy in recent years and committed to releasing many first-party games across multiple devices.
Differentiating the PC Game Pass brand from Xbox could help signal to consumers that they don’t necessarily need to buy an Xbox to use the service.
With Microsoft reportedly set to discontinue Xbox Live Gold, it’s possible that the platform holder is planning to incorporate all of its paid subscription features into Game Pass.
In 2019, Microsoft began bundling Xbox Live Gold with Xbox Game Pass in the form of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99/£10.99 per month and will also include Project xCloud when it launches in September.
Microsoft also stopped selling 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, fuelling speculation that the long-running service could be repackaged or phased out to coincide with the Xbox Series X launch this holiday season.
This was further strengthened by Series X launch game Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer mode. Previously, Xbox Live Gold was required to play multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone online, which were free on other platforms.