What is Xbox Live Gold? | What You Need To Know

Xbox Live GoldIf you have gotten an Xbox video game console recently, you have most likely gotten notifications about Xbox Live Gold. For those who are new to the Xbox consoles, Xbox Live Gold is a paid subscription service for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 as well as the new Xbox Series X and Series S. Many people already feel bogged down with other subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple Music, and might be wondering if Xbox Live Gold is necessary or worth the money.

A subscription to Xbox Live Gold is probably the one thing that most Xbox owners feel that they can’t do without since the  Xbox has limitations on what you can do with it unless you have a subscription. This might sound like a letdown, but your money is not being wasted. Xbox Live Gold provides great value for the amount you pay. Let’s dive in and review everything you need to know about Xbox Live Gold.

What Do You Get With Xbox Live Gold?

Online Gaming

Xbox Live Gold allows you to connect online with other Xbox owners by offering multiplayer gaming. Not only will you be able to play with your friends and family members, but when they aren’t online the fun doesn’t end, you can have fun competing and playing with other players from around the world.

Most games these days have at least some multiplayer online component while a few games are played entirely online. This means that not having Xbox Live Gold means that you won’t be able to play parts or certain modes of many games and that you won’t be able to play some games at all.

Voice Chat

Many years ago playing video games was an individual activity that you did by yourself. At most you interacted with someone who came over and played 2-player games with you. However, for many of today’s video game enthusiasts playing video games has a huge social component as they let you connect with the people you are playing with and/or against. This is another way in which Xbox Live Gold is invaluable to most Xbox console owners.

An Xbox Live Gold subscription also enables members to communicate with the other players by accessing the party system. This feature allows subscribers to communicate with their gaming pals through both voice and text. In order to join or start a party, you and the participating friends must have an active Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Free Games to Download and Play (Games with Gold)

The Games with Gold service expands your gaming horizons by allowing you access to two free game downloads each month.

Exclusive Discounts (Deals with Gold)

People with Xbox Live Gold subscriptions are offered exclusive discounts on select game titles in the Microsoft Store.

What Does Xbox Live Gold Cost & What Are the Subscription Lengths?

Currently, Xbox Live Gold offers three subscription duration options:

The longer time durations offer the best values.

If you are buying a subscription for yourself you can find it in the Microsoft Store. Speaking of the Microsoft Store, it is also worth noting that Microsoft sometimes offers free Gold trials with new consoles and game promotions in the Microsoft Store, which is great if you are on the fence and want to try it out and see if you like it.

If you don’t purchase Xbox Live Gold in the Microsoft Store, which is probably the case if you are buying it for someone else, subscriptions are sold in two ways. The first way is through physical cards that have a code you can use to redeem your subscription. The second way is through purchasing a digital code that you redeem in the same way you do with the code that is found on the physical card. You should be charged the same price regardless of how you purchase the subscription (digital or physical card).

What Are the Different Xbox Consoles or Other Devices You Can Use It With?

Xbox Live Gold is available on Xbox One and Xbox 360 gaming consoles as well as the new and more powerful next-generation Xbox Series X & Series S Consoles.

However, it is also worth noting that with certain games it is possible for Xbox gamers with Xbox Live Gold to play online with players who are using other devices. An example of this is the game Rocket League, where you can also compete online with players who are using PCs, PlayStation 4, or the Nintendo Switch. Click here if you want to learn more about how to play Rocket League with a friend that is on a different platform.

How Do The Free Games With Gold Work on Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold subscribers can download two free games every month. Microsoft says that, the games redeemed on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles are yours to play as long as you have an active Gold membership and that the games redeemed with Xbox 360 consoles are yours to keep.

What Happens to the Free Games With Gold Titles if Your Xbox Live Gold Subscription Ends?

As we just stated, games downloaded with an Xbox 360 games are yours to keep, but without a current Xbox Live Gold membership, the free Xbox One Games with Gold titles you download using Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles will become locked and unplayable if your subscription ends. However, Microsoft goes on to say that once you restart your subscription those games will become available to play again.

How Do The Deals with Gold  Discounts Work on Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold subscription has included Deals with Gold, which provides weekly discounts on select game titles, add-ons, and more in the Microsoft Store. The discount savings for member-only sales range to up to eighty percent off. According to Microsoft, Gold members can get up to $700 in free games during a year of membership that includes backward-compatible Xbox 360 games for your Xbox One or Xbox Series X and S.

What Type of Internet Connection Do You Need for Online Gameplay Using Xbox Live Gold?

Microsoft states that for smooth online gaming you will want to have a broadband connection with a download speed of at least 3 Mbps, which is a speed that most people easily have. You will also read in different places that many people suggest using a wired internet connection instead of a wireless connection for a steadier gaming experience. That said, many, many people play online using a wireless connection without incident. So you shouldn’t feel like you need a wired connection to use Xbox Live Gold.

Who Is the Ideal Xbox Live Gold User?

If you love playing online multiplayer games, or at least those parts of games that are online multiplayer, Xbox Live Gold is a necessity as it offers you the best experience in cooperative and competitive online console multiplayer gaming. Plus, if you like the idea of interacting with fellow gamers, Xbox Live Gold is very exciting as it adds a social element to gaming by giving members the opportunity to communicate with their friends and fellow gamers. Finally, if you are someone who enjoys trying out and playing lots of different games, all of the free and discounted games you get access to with Xbox Live Gold is very hard to pass up.

Who Is Xbox Live Gold NOT For?

Someone who doesn’t have a good internet connection is obviously not a good fit for Xbox Live Gold. However, just because you have internet doesn’t mean that a subscription is right for you. So who is Xbox Live Gold NOT for?

People who don’t play video games that have online multiplayer components or don’t want to play those parts of games that are online multiplayer probably won’t feel a huge need for Xbox Live Gold. In a similar vein, if someone plays video games to spend time alone and unwind they probably won’t feel a big loss if aren’t able to communicate with other gamers. Plus, you can still watch Hulu or Netflix, try game demos, access skype, and more without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Xbox Live Gold as a Gift Idea

Since it is something that pretty much every Xbox owner wants or already has (and wants to continue using) an Xbox Live Gold subscription is always a great gift idea for that Xbox gamer in your life.

If you are already an Xbox user you can purchase the subscription right from your console. Go to the Microsoft store and navigate to Xbox Live Gold and buy the subscription as a gift by entering the gift recipient’s email address. Otherwise, you can always go to a retail store or go to an online retailer like Amazon.

What if you give someone an Xbox Live Gold card or code when they already have the membership?

If you give someone an Xbox Live Gold card or code when they already have the membership, they can stack the Xbox Live Gold subscription. You can stack up to 3 years. They can just wait until their current Gold subscription runs out without the card expiring or becoming invalid, so there is no need to worry.

Final Thoughts

Without Xbox Live Gold, you can still play your games offline without accessing the multiplayer content that was designed to be played over the internet, but that means that there will large portions of many games that will be unplayable while still other games won’t be playable at all.

Conversely, signing up with Xbox Live Gold will give you the thrill of multiplayer online gaming and the ability to share the fun with your friends as you play and chat with them online. Then when you consider the value of all the free games you can receive and all of the exclusive discounts, an Xbox Live Gold subscription is something that almost all Xbox owners can’t imagine being without.

Last update on 2024-07-24 at 01:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Dan G.
Dan G.

Dan is a video game enthusiast who has been playing games for over three decades. Starting out as an "old school" gamer, Dan has since embraced the modern age of gaming, thanks in part to his kids who inspired him to explore today's current consoles and games.

With a passion for video games and a desire to help others, Dan has become an expert in the field, specializing in video game consoles and hardware. Through his numerous articles and reviews he enjoys answering questions and helping parents understand the different options available for their kids.

If you're looking for expert advice on video games and consoles, Dan is a go-to source for reliable and informative information.