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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.
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
|Service||Xbox One||Xbox 360|
|Multiplayer||Gold membership||Gold membership|
|Games with Gold||Gold membership||Gold membership|
|Deals with Gold (discounted games)||Gold membership||Gold membership|
|Party and party chat||Gold membership||Gold membership|
|Home Gold (Gold benefits to all profiles in the same home)||Gold membership||Not available|
|Free-to-play games||Gold membership||Gold membership|
|Game DVR||Gold membership||Not available|
|Live broadcasting||Gold membership||Not available|
|Media sharing||Gold membership||Not available|
|Video Kinect||Not available||Gold membership|
|Voice messaging||Gold membership||Gold membership|
|Xbox Live Arcade point results||Not available||Free|
|Cloud game saves||Free||Free|
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.
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.
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.
The minimum requirements for Xbox Live include:
|Online gaming||SD video streaming||HD video streaming|
|Download speed||3 Mbps||1 Mbps||3.5 Mbps|
|Upload speed||0.5 Mbps||N/A||N/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.
|Xbox Live apps|
|Netflix||Foxtel Play||MUZU TV|
|TED||Major League Gaming||Kdrama|
|Uplay||Yahoo 7Plus||Xbox Video|
|Upload Studio||Quickflix||Xbox Music|
|Twitch.tv||SBS 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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