If you’re a multiplayer lover, setting up Xbox Live just won’t do. You also need a subscription to something called Xbox Live Gold, Microsoft’s online gaming service.

What is Xbox Live Gold?

What is Xbox Live Gold?

Today, Xbox Live Gold is the way you play the multiplayer modes in games you own with other people and save money on new games. It’s that simple.


Multiplayer is why most people buy Xbox Live Gold. A subscription lets the games you already own reach out to Microsoft’s servers and connect you with other people. That way, you can play games with multiplayer modes – like Grand Theft Auto Online, Fortnite and Halo 5.

Because you need to coordinate your attacks and plays for multiplayer games, a subscription also grants you access to Parties and Party Chat. Use them to strategize with your squad or just talk about your favorite games with your friends. They work when you’re playing a game or just sitting on the home screen.

Free Games

Every month, Xbox Live Gold subscribers get access to games at no extra cost. Microsoft calls this promotion Games with Gold, and the games you can download are constantly changing. The Games with Gold library always has four games for you to add to your library. Two of those games are swapped out in the middle of every month. Past games have included Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag and Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain. Games with Gold also includes some Xbox 360 games.

Games with Gold has just one catch, but it’s an important one. You can’t play the games you’ve downloaded through Games with Gold if your Xbox Live Gold subscription has expired. To play them again, you must renew your subscription or buy a disc or digital copy. You can pick up playing exactly where you left off if you do decide to buy a game.


In addition to the Games with Gold library, Xbox Live Gold subscribers get discounts on titles each week. Microsoft calls this Deals with Gold, and the promotion has been known to deeply slash the prices on some titles. For example, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection cost subscribers $19.80 in a recent sale. It costs $59.99 the week before it went on sale.

Finally, an Xbox Live Gold subscription also gets you deeper discounts and early access to Microsoft’s Spring and Winter sales on games.

A prepaid card for a year of Xbox Live Gold.

What Does Xbox Live Gold Cost?

What Does Xbox Live Gold Cost?

In the United States, Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 a month. Pay for a year of the service upfront and you save half; An annual subscription costs $59.99.

If more than one member of the family likes to game, you still save money. Xbox Live Gold Home grants access to your games and your subscription to any other account that plays on your Xbox One. Finally, the days of sharing a single account to avoid spending more money on a subscription are over.

How you buy Xbox Live Gold is up to you. If you’d prefer to not give Microsoft your credit card details, Amazon sells prepaid codes that unlock the service for 1 month, 3 months and an entire year. There are prepaid cards at GameStop, Walmart, Target, and 7-Eleven also. I prefer to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold through the Microsoft Store and avoid getting off my couch.