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What is Xbox Live?

A video game console that popularized online play and player profiles.

Xbox live is the online service for Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles. It offers a free basic version, and a Gold version that costs $59.99 annually. To get started, create a profile with a Microsoft account that can be used for other Microsoft devices and services.

Xbox Live has traditionally been used to play multiplayer games online and communicate with friends, but this has expanded in recent years. Now, players can purchase and download a vast majority of Xbox One games through Xbox Live. It also offers a host of entertainment apps such as music, movies and TV.

Through Xbox live, “day one patches” fix bugs on the day of game releases. Players can also purchase new maps and story sequences through the marketplace.

How much does Xbox Live Gold cost?

The basic Xbox live service is free and gets you limited access to online features. To enjoy online multiplayer, free games and game discounts, you’ll need to spring for an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

The Gold subscription costs $59.99 per year. Other subscription options include one month of Xbox Live Gold for $9.99, or three months for $24.99. Xbox Live Gold offers a one-month free trial.

Create multiple profiles on one machine for everyone in your home, while still only paying for Xbox Live Gold once.

Latest Xbox Live deals

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What’s free and what requires a paid subscription on Xbox Live?

ServiceXbox OneXbox 360
MultiplayerGold membershipGold membership
Games with GoldGold membershipGold membership
Deals with Gold (discounted games)Gold membershipGold membership
Party and party chatGold membershipGold membership
Home Gold (Gold benefits to all profiles in the same home)Gold membershipNot available
Free-to-play gamesGold membershipGold membership
Game DVRGold membershipNot available
Live broadcastingGold membershipNot available
Media sharingGold membershipNot available
Video KinectNot availableGold membership
Voice messagingGold membershipGold membership
Internet ExplorerFreeFree
Xbox Live Arcade point resultsNot availableFree
Game demosFreeFree
Entertainment appsFreeFree
Sport appsFreeFree
Exclusive betasFreeFree
SkypeFreeNot available
Cloud game savesFreeFree

What’s Games with Gold?

Games with Gold allows Xbox Live Gold subscribers to receive up to four games a month for free. When new games are released, they appear on the Xbox Store with the original price scratched out and the word “Free” in its place. If you download the game during its two-week Games with Gold window, it’s added to your Xbox Live account for you to play until you cancel your subscription.

Understanding Xbox Live terminology

  • Gamertag: A player’s username
  • Achievements: Every Xbox One game offers a total of 1,000 points for achieving goals. Each goal completed comes with a number of points that depends on the goal difficulty.
  • Gamerscore: The global total of points accrued by completing achievements in games.
  • Gamercard: A panel that displays everything about your online persona.
  • Avatar: The character you create and use as your online personification.
  • DLC: Downloadable content, or extra content that doesn’t come with your game.
  • Season pass: A pay-up-front model for DLC that gives you every piece of extra content for a game for a discount.
  • TrueSkill: A ranking that reflect your ability in a certain game, regardless of how many times you’ve played.
  • Dashboard: The navigation panels and environment you’re in when you’re not playing a game or using an app on a console.
  • New Xbox experience: An Xbox Live update that impacts the Dashboard by changing its look or adding new features.
  • Digital Video Recorder (DVR): Program that allows you to record footage of a game as you are playing, to be viewed or shared later.
  • Ping: The time it takes for a signal to travel from your console to the server and back. The lower your ping, the better your online experience.
  • Lag: A delay in what you see on screen as a result of a slow connection between your home and the server.
  • Snap: To open a second active window on the Xbox One dashboard to multitask.

How long has Xbox Live been around?

Xbox Live has been around since November 2002, one year after the launch of the original Xbox. By 2003, an estimated 50 games were available, and by 2007, over it hosted over 8 million gamers. As of 2019, membership has grown to more than 50 million.

What is an Xbox dashboard update and how do I get it?

Xbox dashboard updates happen regularly to patch the Xbox service, add in new features, fix issues and refine the user interface. If your console is online, you’re prompted to install now or update later. Alternatively, the settings menu allows you to manually start an update.

Updates can be around 1GB to download and can take a bit of time to complete. Generally the best time to start an update is before bed or while your away for the day.

What’s the best Internet speed and data package for Xbox Live?

The minimum requirements for Xbox Live include:

Online gamingSD video streamingHD video streaming
Download speed3 Mbps1 Mbps3.5 Mbps
Upload speed0.5 MbpsN/AN/A
Ping< 150 milliseconds< 150 milliseconds< 150 milliseconds

If you play a lot of games online, your Internet speed should be over 10 megabits per second, and a ping under 40. The faster your Net speed, the less lag between your screen and what’s happening in real time.

Note that wireless connections are slower than wired connections, and your speed can be impacted by other people on the Network doing high-bandwidth activities such as downloading a large file or streaming high-definition TV or movies.

What apps are available on Xbox Live?

Xbox Live apps
MLB.TVGoPro ChannelTenPlay
CrackleEA AccessUFC
Internet ExplorerTuneInVevo
NetflixFoxtel PlayMUZU TV
TEDMajor League GamingKdrama
UplayYahoo 7PlusXbox Video
Upload StudioQuickflixXbox Music
YouTubeRosetta Stone
Twitch.tvSBS On Demand

What’s the future of Xbox Live?

Xbox Live platform that has transcended consoles replacing games with Windows program on PCs, tablets and smart phones. As the games industry looks to cut costs on game production and improve games with downloadable content and multiplayer modes, Xbox Live continues to be popular in the storefront and online.

With stiff competition from PlayStation, the cost of subscription is unlikely to change. However, we may see free-to-play model seen on mobiles, and an increase in season passes and subscription-based games.

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