Gamers: talk to me about Xbox Live for Xbox One

I’m not a gamer. I haven’t played video games with any regularity since Donkey Kong Country came out for the SNES in 1994 or so. Therefore, my ignorance regarding modern video game systems is profound.

My two kids, who are in grade school, are another story. They have recently acquired an Xbox One console and a dozen or so games and damned if this stupid machine isn’t a total mystery to me. We bought it used so have no manual for it. One of the things they want—quite vociferously, I might add—is Xbox Live. Having no clue what this is, I’ve poked around a bit on the net and… still have no idea what this is. As near as I can tell it allows the Xbox console to connect to other Xbox players online to allow online multitplayer gaming. I also saw something about being able to download extra content, but I have no idea what that is. They (my kids) keep mentioning their friends’ “gamer tags.” WTF?

So, what is Xbox live and what would my kids get out of it? I think my biggest worry is that there may be costs associated with the service above the monthly or yearly subscription. So if my son was given an Xbox Live gift card and wanted to download special games that are only available for Live members does that cost extra in real folding green (that is, will my credit card be charged)? I seem to recall my nephew saying once he had Live for his Xbox 360 and some friend was over playing and racked up several hundred dollars in mods and add-ons in one particular game.

I don’t get this machine at all—the requirement to be connected to the net, the need to sign in with a password every time someone wants to play it, the fact that games have to be installed like software… grumble, grumble. Kids should go outside and play, but then I’d be pissed that they were on my lawn.

Anyway, what can y’all tell me about Xbox Live? And is Xbox Live Gold any different?

xbox live is microsofts online service and if you want to play games you have to pay for it … the cheapest way is buy a code online theres for a years subscription

You can also download and buy games on it heres the official sales pitch page :

Note that if the kids are under 13 you have to have an account in your name or lie when they get the gamertags …

you can get free games also


That’s exactly what that is. More and more games are multiplayer - Xbox Live enables your kids to do that.

You don’t know what extra content is? It’s…extra content. If they have Madden, maybe they can download the 1970 Chiefs and play with them. Or play in a different stadium. If they have Call of Duty, they can download a special gun or something.

It’s a username for Xbox Live. My real name isn’t actually Munch.

There can be - Xbox Live lets them buy games and extra content. So don’t give them access to your credit card. Use the links nightshade gave to buy subscription codes instead of linking your credit card to the service.

If you don’t play video games, the concept of paying $60 for a game then having to add more features a la carte at an additional cost (rather than just getting “the game”) is probably foreign to you.

The absolute best bet for you is to go the giftcard/code route. It will cost money for the kiddos to play online, but as long as you don’t upload a credit card they won’t be able to buy the additional content.

They’ll most likely ask for it, to which then you need to manually put in your CC info, but make sure you don’t allow the system to save the info!!

It’s also a hive of villainy. Especially with voice chat.

I noticed the gift cards for for Xbox Live for sale and it looks like that might be a good way to go.

I wonder if I can buy a prepaid Visa card and use that if Microsoft needs a credit card.

Yeah Munch. If I buy a $60 game I can’t wrap my head around paying real folding green for more stuff. I bought the damn game, that should suffice.

Yeah I know. I’m old and a luddite.

Oh God, don’t feel bad. There is a ton of additional content crap that is totally useless, and a giant money grab. People pay money to buy packages so their characters look different, not even to have them play differently. But there are always some good deals out there, extra levels, sequel chapters, etc. and sometimes, they just need to be connected in order to download updates and patches and things that don’t cost anything.

Just to clarify for Lancia – it’s still possible to buy certain Xbox games and extra content online even if you don’t have Xbox Live.

I don’t have Xbox Live and the main difference I see is that I can’t play the online multiplayer bits of the games I have.

Xbox Live is the name for the online service. You don’t pay for it directly, it’s just something that’s there. You can use it for free. But it locks you out of most content (including play with other gamers).

Xbox Live “Gold” is the service that costs money, and what your kids are asking for. In addition to unlocking all of the console’s online features, you get access to exclusive discounts on some games, and you also get free games you can download and own forever. (Those games are usually older games but still would cost money without Gold membership.)

I wouldn’t say it pays for itself, but the freebies and discounts make the cost of the service easier to swallow. Some of the free games are pretty good.

Paying for Xbox Live Gold is $120/year if you pay monthly, $60 if you pay annually.

It does enable online gaming, but something to make it easier to swallow, especially as a parent, is that it also gives two free games every month- often top-notch, AAA-quality games.

(On preview, I see Atamasama covered pretty much exactly what I am, so I’ll just trail off here…)

So… any online play at all requires XBox Live? There aren’t any games that let you punch in an IP address and just connect to something?

Man, I don’t even know what to say about it, except my kids will probably rope me into it before too long.

So I bit the bullet and got my kids a $25 Xbox Live gift card for Christmas. I don’t have the card in front of me but I think that’s 3 month’s worth of service. We’ll see how it goes. If Microsoft requires a credit card number to activate it I guess I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.

Now that I have the card, does this service only work on one account? Each kid has their own account and has to sign in separately, so would the extra content and game downloads only work with one account? I like the idea of having access to extra games available at no charge, but it would be a bummer if one of the kids couldn’t play them without signing into the other’s account.

Pretty much. There are plenty of games you can play without Gold (again, you just need a working internet connection to get to Xbox Live so you can download stuff or do updates) but if you want to join online multiplayer you have to pay. Most games I own, I don’t do multiplayer, but I couldn’t play a game like Destiny 2 or any of my MMOs without Gold.

Yep…it only works for one account. So they’ll either have to share one account or you’ll have to pony up for another. I’m not certain if you can use that card you bought to split up the $25 for two accounts to be activated for a shorter period of time or not though.

If you shop around, you can probably find it cheaper. Here’s a place that has them for $45.

Xbox is just another gaming console from Microsoft like Sony PlayStation and Xbox Live is their online server portal where you can find their latest services and news regarding games and products. As far as game purchases are concerned that are linked with your debit or credit card and to validate purchase, it needs password which I hope that your kids don’t know. So there not much chances that they will be able to make a purchase but yeah, you’d need a regular internet connection for the updates that the console need usually released by Microsoft and some mandatory game updates may also pop up.

If you go into settings there is, somewhere, an option to set this Xbox as your Home XBox. If you do that, you’ll be able to share XBox Gold membership and downloaded games/content across the different users.

We got one for Christmas and I painstakingly set up separate accounts for me and my son, only to find that apparently the membership I’d bought apparently didn’t apply to both of us. It was googling the above little nugget that stopped me expanding the kids’ vocabulary in unhelpful ways.