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What Is Xbox Live Gold? Is The Service Worth It?

Is Xbox Live Gold worth it? Find out everything you need to know right here!

Console gamers know that if you want to play games online a subscription is mandatory. But if you’re new to console gaming and are about to get into the world of Xbox by picking up either an Xbox Series X or Series S this holiday or you’ve just gotten an Xbox One X or One S and are curious about what Xbox Live Gold really is then you’re in the right place.  

You may be asking yourself, what is Xbox Live Gold? What features do I get? How much does a Gold membership cost? Is it worth it to get Xbox Live Gold?

In this post, I’ll answer all of your burning questions regarding this subscription service.

The first step  is to understand Xbox Live Gold.

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Xbox Live Gold is a premium subscription service by Microsoft that requires you to sign up to play online multiplayer. You also gain access to member benefits such as discounts on a selection of digital games and DLC through the online store as well as free preselected digital games to download every month, similar to Playstation Plus.  

Xbox Live Gold is different from Xbox Live in that the latter is the free plan that lets you create friends lists, a profile and gamertag, and access to the Microsoft store to download games, but you can’t play games online, engage in any sort of chats (private, in-game, etc.), or have access to any of the premium features mentioned before.

What Are the Key Benefits of An Xbox Live Gold Membership?

Now that we know what Xbox Live Gold is, let’s dive a bit deeper into some of the benefits you can expect with an Xbox Live Gold Membership.

Online Multiplayer Access

As I mentioned earlier, if you want to play online with people you’re going to need a Gold subscription. Pretty self explanatory. However, what you should know is that a Gold subscription is not required to play single player games, games offline, or to stream movies on Netflix, Hulu, etc.

Games With Gold

image of games with gold for the month of september 2020
Image credit: (Microsoft)

Monthly, a select number of digital games are offered to subscribers at no cost. This feature is only available to Gold subscription holders. If you cancel your subscription or let it lapse, you lose access to the digital games you downloaded until you resubscribe and you will not be able to download future free games. 

While you can expect free games every month, they’re only available to download during a specified time period, between two weeks to a month. 

New subscribers should also take into consideration if you don’t download a game during its scheduled month, you won’t be able to download that game free once it leaves. On the flip side, if you download the games during their free period, you can play those games whenever you want for free as long as your membership remains active.

If you play your cards right, you have the potential to build up a solid library of games virtually for free…ok obviously it’s not free but it’s definitely cheaper than buying games at full price.

Deals With Gold

Deals with Gold offers members discounts on a certain selection of Xbox games, add-ons, and other purchasable items in the Microsoft Store. Savings are anywhere between 20% and 80% and if you buy games often, this might be the biggest selling point for you. These discounts change weekly and you won’t see the latest games being discounted, however, there’s a likely chance you’ll find a game you’ve been meaning to play on discount. 

If you want to check out the current games on discount check the Deals With Gold site.

What's the Price of An Xbox Live Gold Subscription?

There are currently only two pricing tiers for Xbox Live Gold that you can purchase physically in stores:

  • One month: $9.99
  • Three months: $24.99

There was an annual subscription but back in July, 2020, Xbox took away that option in the Microsoft store. However, at the time of this post, you can still buy a 12-month membership over on Amazon [Check current price on Amazon]

Other than Amazon, there are other ways of picking up a subscription. The first is getting a subscription card from big box stores like Walmart, Target, GameStop, or your local grocery and pharmacy store. The other way is to purchase a digital card from the Microsoft Store, Amazon, online retail sites, or through your Xbox console.

The best tier will depend on you. If you want to try out a free trial, Microsoft occasionally offers free Xbox Live Gold trials when you purchase either an Xbox console or purchase a game. Unfortunately, this is a drawback as there is no easy way to get a trial so purchasing a one month trial is the next best option.

Alternative To Xbox Live Gold

If by chance you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to build your library of games using Deals with Gold, check out Xbox Game Pass. Another service by Microsoft that gives you access to a bunch of games for a monthly price is Xbox Game Pass. This service works if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to build your library of games using Deals with Gold.

Last note on the pricing, if you subscribe for any amount of time, you won’t be able to cancel and get a refund.

Final Verdict: Is Xbox Live Gold Worth It?

With Xbox Live Gold you gain access to online multiplayer, Deals with Gold, and Games with Gold. The Live Gold subscription service is absolutely worth it if you happen to be a gamer that generally plays online games. 

This subscription is also worth it for gamers who may be on a budget and can’t pay for games at full price. Keep in mind that building your gaming library may take some patience on your part due to the fact that the selection in Games with Gold and Deals with Gold might not be to your general tastes. 

However, if you’re a gamer that doesn’t play often or prefer single player games offline, this might not be the best investment. 

I’ll also say that if you’re on a tight budget and still can’t afford to buy games during Deals with Gold, I’d recommend you check out Xbox Game Pass.