What is Xbox Live?
Xbox Live is a service that has allowed for online gaming and content delivery on Microsoft’s Xbox consoles since 2002. It began as an online gaming network, and evolved into a game downloading service towards the end of the original Xbox’s lifespan.
With the launch of the Xbox 360 in November of 2005, that aspect became more integral to the service, and video content became available to download and stream. On both the original Xbox and Xbox 360, a broadband internet connection has been required to make use of the service.
What does Xbox Live allow you to do?
It enables you to:
- Play video games online
- Download games via a variety of services
- Download movies and TV shows with Xbox Video.
- Access streaming video services such as Netflix, iPlayer and 4OD (with the appropriate accounts).
Is Xbox Live free?
There are two tiers of Xbox Live service – one is free. Xbox Live Free membership costs absolutely nothing and allows you to keep a friends list, voice chat, download game demos, full Games on Demand titles, Xbox Live Arcade games and Indie Games. However, with the exception of occasional promotional weekends, Xbox Live Free members are unable to play multiplayer games online.
What about Xbox Live Gold?
Xbox Live Gold membership is the premium subscription that includes the Free memberships features, but also allows gamers to play online against other Gold members, get two free games per month, make use of additional video streaming apps such as Netflix, as well as other additional perks.
How much does Xbox Live Gold cost?
The official RRPs for different regions of Xbox Live subscriptions are below:
You can purchase the service on either your region’s official Xbox website or on the Xbox 360 itself. A cheaper, safer option is to buy prepaid cards from shop or online stores like ours.
Can I stack my subscriptions?
Yes. Any prepaid codes you purchase will add on top of your existing remaining Gold time, so you won’t lose out.
What is the main reason gamers pay for Xbox Live Gold?
The main reason people pay is the ability to play multiplayer games online. In some cases such as FIFA and Call of Duty games, it’s the primary reason people play the games.
Is it difficult to play games online with Xbox Live?
That varies on a game-by-game basis due to each game having its own menu structure, but generally, it is very easy to play online with friends or random players.
If I’m new, will I be beaten quickly in a game?
Unless the game uses Trueskill, that is quite likely.
What is TrueSkill?
TrueSkill is a matchmaking system devised by Microsoft that uses an algorithm to determine who you would be best-suited to face.
How many friends can you have on your Xbox Live friends list?
The maximum number of friends you can on your list on Xbox 360 is 100. This will increase to 1000 with the Xbox One.
Can I use voice chat?
Voice chat is available to free and Gold members.
What about Party chat?
Party chat, which enables multiple players to form a party and chat even when in different games, is only available to Xbox Gold members. Kinect video chat requires the Kinect and is also only available to Gold members.
Can I use Xbox Live over a Wi-Fi connection?
If you have an Xbox 360 S (released June 2010) or E model (released June 2013) system, wireless adapters are built into the console so a wi-fi connection can be used.
All of the ‘fat’ original design white or black Xbox 360s require either an ethernet cable, or the purchase of an additional wireless network adapter that plugs into one of the system’s USB ports
Can I use my Xbox Live Gold account on multiple systems?
Yes, you can. This can be done by signing into your Xbox Live account on another system, or downloading the profile from Xbox Live on one 360, then saving it to a USB flash drive and loading it on the other one.
Does that mean I can sign into my profile on multiple systems at once?
Unfortunately, you cannot use one profile on more than one system simultaneously.
What are achievements and what do they do?
Achievements are a sign that you accomplished something in a game. Point values and names are given to each one. Generally speaking, the lower the amount of points earned for an achievement, the easier it is to obtain. They don’t “do” anything, but can be a source of pride and provide players with bragging rights against friends.
Do achievements update in real-time?
Yes – your gamerscore will increase in real-time as you earn more achievements.
What is the maximum number of points in a game?
Generally speaking, retail and Games on Demand titles have 1,000 Achievement Points while Xbox Live Arcade games have 200. Xbox Live Indie Games have none. Some retail and GoD games are able to exceed the 1,000 limit with additional DLC.
What downloadable game services are available on Xbox Live?
Games on Demand offers the ability to download the same games as full retail releases, just without a physical disc, box, or manual. The games will need to download in full onto your hard drive before playing. Some games have manuals that can be viewed on the official Xbox site as PDF. Games on Demand titles are rarely discounted and so are usually more expensive than buying the boxed version.
Xbox Live Arcade games are exclusively downloadable titles with no physical counterpart. They tend to be smaller games than full-fledged Games on Demand offerings. They also have a much lower maximum cost, with many games costing between 800-1600 MS Points. Xbox Live Arcade titles are frequently discounted.
Xbox Live Indie Games are the least-expensive and smallest games offered on the Xbox Live service and are created by small, independent, often amateur developers. Many are available at only 80 MS Points, which allows you to amass a large library of playable games on the system without spending a lot of money.
What games are available on Games on Demand?
Not every game is available on the GoD service, and many aren’t available on day one of a game’s release.
I love older games, what is available for me beyond Xbox Live Arcade/Indie titles?
The Game Room app allows you to play older games from Konami, Atari, and Intellivion. These games are available to buy in a variety of packs, or you can try every game for free for ten minutes.
Games with Gold
What is Games with Gold?
The Games with Gold program is only available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The service launched in June 2013, and gives gamers 2 free games per month.
What type of games are on the GWG service?
Games with Gold includes both Games on Demand and Xbox Live Arcade titles.
What games have been available so far?
A full list of games that have been made available on the service is available here.
Can I download the backlog of free games that have been released?
No. A new GWG game is release on the 1st and 16th of each month, and only the latest game is available to download at any given time.
How long will Games with Gold run and is only for existing Gold members?
Presently, the program is slated to run through December of 2013. It’s available for existing and new members.
If I have a code for a trial 48 Gold membership, can I grab the free GWG game?
Unfortunately not. Xbox Live Gold members must be using at least a 1 month subcription in order to access the latest GWG game.
When I download a game, is it mine to keep forever?
As long as your Xbox Live account isn’t banned, you’ll be able to play the games forever. If your Gold membership expires, you’ll still be able to play the games. Unlike PS+, the game is yours to keep regardless of whether you’re an active paid member or not.
Can I redownload previous GWG games after I have already downloaded them for free?
Anything you need to delete due to storage space concerns can be re-downloaded by checking your download history on either the console or on the official Xbox site. You can only re-download games you have already downloaded whilst you were making use of the GWG service.
Were any games free to download prior to this service?
Before this promotion launched, only a select few Xbox Live Arcade games were made available for free – and those were usually branded products put out to promote a company. Examples would include Yaris and the two Doritos Crash Course game.
What kind of video services does Xbox Live offer?
Depending on the region you live, Sky, 4OD, Iplayer, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Youtube, Crackle, Redbox Instant, Nickelodeon, UFC, ESPN, Blip, Vudu, MSN, MLB, TMZ, Crunchyroll, the CW, Vimeo, and Twitch are just a few of the apps available for free on the Xbox Live marketplace.
Is all content on these services free?
Most require paid-for additional subscriptions. Video content that is usually free such as iPlayer and 4OD remain so. Anything that requires payment is clearly marked. In the case of Hulu Plus and Netflix, these services come with 30 day free trial offers.
Do I need to be an Xbox Gold Member to access these video services?
Most will require an Xbox Gold membership. A notable exception is the BBC iPlayer.
Is content the same for all services in all regions?
No, the applications will only stream the content that’s normally available in your region.
Outside of gaming and video services, what does Xbox Live offer?
You can execute simple searches with Bing or makes use of the Internet Explorer app to browse the web. You’re also able to customize your avatar with free or paid items. Music and social networking tools are also available.
Is Internet Explorer a fully featured web browser?
Other than the lack of Flash support, it works reasonably well for most tasks. If you need to check your e-mail quickly or keep up with some news in-between extended gaming sessions, it’s very useful. The lack of Flash means you’re unable to view any video content that uses it though.
What is an avatar?
An avatar is a 3D character model that you can customize to look like yourself, or nearly anything else you can imagine.
Are avatars free?
Yes. An avatar costs nothing to create, but some optional items for them do cost money.
What kind of items are available for free?
Generally, you can create a realistic, but basic-looking avatar with free items. Some game purchases will entitle you to otherwise paid items.
What kind of avatar items are included with a game purchase?
You’ll usually get a T-shirt or hat with that game’s logo or name on it. Sometimes, you’ll get multiple items through one game purchase. Some titles even allow you to unlock avatar items after accomplishing something within the game itself.
How can I listen to music on Xbox Live?
Youtube is a popular way to view music videos on the system, as is Vevo. Last.fm allows for streaming music, while Xbox Music allows you to stream and download music.
Is music streaming free?
Xbox Music has a free streaming service supported by advertisements. If you have an Xbox Music Pass, you will be able to bypass the ads on the service. Xbox Music Pass gives you offline and online access to songs for a paid subscription.
The Xbox Music Store doesn’t require a monthy fee and allows you to pay to download a song or album of your choosing.
Last.fm is free and ad-supported. Last.fm tailors your own customized radio station based on your listening habits.
What kind of social networking functionality is available on Xbox Live?
Xbox Live has had Facebook and Twitter apps in the past, but they were removed in late 2012. You can still access those services on the system through the Internet Explorer app.
Is Skype available on the Xbox 360?
No, but it is coming to the Xbox One.
What other functionality is available through Xbox Live?
SkyDrive is supported for cloud storage. While any kind of file can be put on your SkyDrive, the 360 app focuses on allowing you to view pictures and videos. You’re given 7GB of free Skydrive storage space, and additional space can be purchased.
You’re able to view photos in a slideshow, or go through them individually with either the d-pad or bumper buttons. You can also view file information and find out when a photo was taken, or even which camera was used to take it. Videos can be paused whenever you like.
How many devices is my Xbox Live account good for?
If you have any Games For Windows games, your Xbox Live account can be used for that. If you have a Windows phone, your Xbox Live account can be used there to keep track of your account. Both Windows Phones and Games For Windows allow you to boost your gamerscore with in-game achievements.
Xbox SmartGlass is a mobile phone and tablet app that gives you a second screen experience with some Xbox 360 games. In the case of Forza Horizon, it allows you to view a map whenever you want, while Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge lets you view your achievements and statistics.
Will an Xbox Live Gold membership carry over to the Xbox One?
Due to the lack of backwards compatibility, Xbox Live Arcade, Games on Demand, and Indie Game purchases will not carry over to the Xbox One. Your Xbox Live Gold account, Gamertag, achievements and Avatar will carry over.
As far as media purchases go, video, and music purchases made on the 360 will carry over.
Will there be a price increase for Xbox Live Gold on the Xbox One?
No. Xbox Live Gold is set to cost the exact same on Xbox One as it does on the Xbox 360. Those who eventually have both systems will be able to use the same account on both consoles, and get more use out of a single membership.
Will Xbox One’s friends list be capped at 100?
No. The Xbox One will have a maximum friend list of 1000.
What new services will be available on Xbox Live with the Xbox One?
The system will have on-board video editing software that allows you to upload clips to Twitch, and the mandatory Kinect will enable Skype video chat.