Difference Between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold

Xbox is a well-known gaming console and network brand created and owned by Microsoft.

The company started in November 2001 and sold millions of units of the very first consoles. Xbox Network, formerly known as Xbox Live, is the online gaming service provided by Microsoft.

Xbox Live vs Xbox Live Gold

The main difference between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold is that the former is a free online gaming service while the latter is also an online gaming service but is paid and is required to play online multiplayer games if you have any Xbox Console.

Xbox Live vs Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live was launched on November 15, 2002, and was made available to the gaming consoles by Microsoft. It is used to store Online Games, data, and other services.

Further from 2007, the service was integrated with Windows, and all the Windows computers now come with an Xbox Application.

The same sort of Xbox Network, online gaming services, also comes as a subscription and also includes online multiplayer games. The subscribers also get a few extra games and services by Xbox and are eligible for future advancements and Members-only games and features.

Comparison Table Between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold

Parameters of ComparisonXbox LiveXbox Live Gold
EligibilitySubscription cost based on the plansFree of cost
Online MultiplayerNot AvailableOnline Multiplayer games with voice chat
Purchasing GamesYou can buy any game available.You can buy any game with special deals and discounts.
Early AccessNot availableYou get early access and beta versions for the latest games.
Extra FeaturesOnline streaming, store data, read emails, One Drive.Monthly free games, members-only content, etc. (in addition to the free features)

What is Xbox Live?

Xbox Live, which is now Xbox Network, is the basic plan of the Xbox online gaming services, which are free for everyone having one account.

Since Xbox Live has also been integrated with Windows, the games can be enjoyed on both the windows and Xbox Gaming consoles.

An Xbox console must be connected to an internet connection to use the Xbox Live features, and there is an option for both wired connection through Ethernet cable and wireless connection through Wi-Fi. There is also a coupon option that can be redeemed to get the Xbox Live Gold subscription.

It was launched by Microsoft in 2002, and by 2019 it reached around 65 million gamers. An Xbox Live account has features like playing games, reading emails, watch movies, listen to music, watch pictures.

Players can also connect to other players online through a feature called Looking for Group.

Xbox is also said to be one of the most important inventions which started the online gaming trend. The streaming content features it provides are quite amazing, and it also has multiple stages of security for the privacy of users, which is important after the security breach of PSN.

What is Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold is the paid version of Xbox Live, which gives some extra features like playing live online Multiplayer games and more free games every month. If you have one Xbox One or Xbox 360, then you must go for the Gold membership.

The Gold memberships require some amount month, and except for the multiplayer games and extra free games every month, they also provide some members-only content. In multiplayer games, you can use live voice chat to interact with friends or teammates in the game.

In the previous versions, the fee for Netflix or Hulu was included, and you had to pay for the gaming and streaming altogether. But now, Microsoft has changed the policies, and you have to pay the charges for Netflix or any other available streaming channels available.

Although the offline multiplayer games don’t require the Gold subscription and there are many games you get with the free version.

The “Games With Gold” option lets you redeem the free games for subscribers only, but if you don’t redeem them in the fixed period, you won’t get them for free.

Main Differences Between Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold

  1. You’ll have to pay a certain amount (depends on the chosen plan) for the Xbox Live Gold membership, while the Xbox Live account is free for everyone.
  2. With Xbox Gold subscription, extra benefits like online multiplayer games with voice chat, redeemable free monthly games, members-only content, and upcoming features Microsoft might add. While Xbox Live gives basic online gaming and streaming services.
  3. You can add steaming channels like Netflix or Hulu to your Xbox gold subscription and stream content via your Xbox devices, while you have to pay separately to get this feature with the free version.
  4. You can use an Xbox Live account to purchase or download games without any extra costs to be paid monthly or yearly. But the Xbox Live Gold needs payment of a certain amount.
  5. You get membership discounts and deals on premium games, and also betas and early access to the latest or testing games with the Gold account, while you get nothing among these with the Xbox Live account.


If you have an Xbox console, the Xbox Gold membership is very much recommended due to all the benefits discussed. You can connect with like-minded people around the world and play games together.

The wider range of games allows you to make use of your console. Also, the subscription cost isn’t that high if you love gaming.

Although the free games, streaming services, One Drive access, mails, etc., make you consider the Xbox Live account. All these features are free from any costs and can be availed via an Xbox console or even any PC running on Windows.

Through One Drive, you can store your games, photos, or any other media on cloud storage.

All you need is an internet connection for both free and gold membership. The newer versions of Xbox controllers come with built-in Wi-Fi, and all of them have Ethernet ports for wired connection.


  1. http://gamestudies.org/1101/articles/jakobsson?report=reader
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0262407910620180
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