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An online service packed with value

A couple years ago we discussed how Xbox Live was evolving its service on Xbox One, and in the time since, there’s been even more exciting changes. Before I get into what’s new though, let me take a quick step back and explain what this service is all about.

At its core, Xbox Live is an online service for gaming and content distribution for both Xbox One and Xbox 360 video games consoles. Through Xbox Live, you can gain access to a wealth of online features, such as online multiplayer and Party Chat, as well as download a huge selection of digital content, like game demos, trailers, and full games, through the Xbox Games Store.

To get a sense of just how popular Xbox Live is today, Microsoft recently shared with me that the Xbox Live community has grown to more than 50 million members in 42 countries. Perhaps even more impressive, last year Microsoft revealed that Xbox Live members are spending an average of 5 hours per days using apps, playing video games, and watching TV on Xbox One.

Why are so many gamers enjoying Xbox Live Gold? It’s because of outstanding services like these:

GamesWithGold.jpgGames with Gold

They say the best things in life are free, and when these “things” are free video games, it really is time for celebration. As part of your Xbox Live Gold membership, each month you’ll receive free Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, available to download for a limited time.

You could argue that yes, you have to buy an Xbox Live Gold membership in order to get the free games (making them not exactly free), but considering Xbox Live offered a full suite of services and had tens of millions of subscribers before the Games With Gold program was introduced, the free games sure do feel like a sweet bonus on top of an already excellent service.

Don’t think these are throwaway games either, Games with Gold has given away an impressive selection of AAA games, including:

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Tomb Raider

Bioshock Infinite


Halo: Reach

Rayman Legends

And that’s just 6 of the nearly 65 games that have given away for free since Games with Gold launched in June 2013.

One important distinction you need to know about Games with Gold is that the program works differently on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Each month, you’ll receive two complimentary Xbox 360 games—each available for a limited time and they’re yours to keep forever. On Xbox One, you’ll receive one (sometimes two) games per month, and these games can be played for as long as you maintain your Xbox Live Gold membership.

Xbox_Live_switching_users.jpgHome Gold

Did you know that a single Gold membership provides Xbox Live access to everyone in your home? With Home Gold, the subscription is tied to both your GamerTag (your online username) and your Xbox One console, allowing everyone in your home to access the many online features of Xbox Live such as multiplayer, Party Chat, and Game DVR Cloud Storage. What’s great too is everyone can login using their own GamerTag, so nobody in your house has to worry about someone else logging into their account and messing around with their Gamerscore, data storage, or content queue.


Deals with Gold

On top of the free games you’ll get with an Xbox Live Gold membership, you’ll also be given exclusive deals up to 50%-75% off select games, add-on content, and other digital content. These deals rotate weekly, giving you an abundance of great discounts to take advantage of each month. To see how fantastic (and deep) the discounts are, just this week you can snag 45% off Far Cry 4, 33% off the Far Cry 4 Season Pass, and 45% off Assassin’s Creed Unity. Of course you have to act fast because these deals are only on for this week, but don’t worry if you miss out—each and every week Xbox Live Gold members will receive more superb deals just like the ones mentioned above.

Gold_Membership_Area.jpgGold Membership Area

Above is just a small sample of the incredible services available through Xbox Live Gold. To help you manage all your benefits, Microsoft has introduced a new Gold Membership area accessible on your Xbox One console dashboard. Inside you’ll find a complete list of all the free downloadable games currently available, the Deals with Gold on now, as well as other special benefits exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members. Be sure to check this area often to see the latest updates!



Other Member Benefits

Many of the other value-add benefits of Xbox Live Gold Membership we discussed during our last feature rundown, including access to online multiplayer, cloud storage, and better player matchmaking using Microsoft’s intelligent Smart Match algorithms. Microsoft continues to improve upon these services, offering a fast, easy, and seamless online experience for multiplayer and content sharing through services like Twitch. I encourage you to take a look at our previous article, as well as check out the the official Xbox Live Gold webpage on

To see a snapshot of the benefits of Xbox Live Gold, here’s a handy chart provided by Microsoft:


Are you an Xbox Live Gold member? If so, let us know in the comments section your opinion of the service!

Perhaps you’re thinking of jumping into the Xbox Live Gold membership experience for the very first time? We’d love to hear what benefits you’re thinking of taking advantage of first and encourage you to discuss below!

Paul Hunter
Editor Video Gaming
I work out of Toronto, Ontario as the Editor of Gaming here on the Plug-in Blog and as Editor-in-Chief of NextGen Player. I am thankful for having a loving and patient wife who doesn’t mind my 40 hour a week obsession with gaming. See my latest gaming adventures on my Twitter channel.


  1. I like the benefits but I feel asking for credit details with 1st 3 month’s free access code is a bit rich

  2. I didn’t know about the Home Gold!  Looks like my wife doesn’t need to renew her membership this year!  That saves us $60.  I am ok with this.


    I’ve always liked Xbox Live Gold. Sure, it’s $60/year, but it’s such a robust system that the cost, at least to me, seems worth it.



  3. Home Gold is a great new feature for sure. You can save a lot of money if you have multiple gamers in your house!

  4. Home Gold is one of the best things Microsoft has done with Xbox Live in recent years. It has saved myself and many others I know a boat load of money.  

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