With how interconnected people are through social networking, wireless devices, and just in general, any system that doesn’t support people coming together in a simple way is doomed to failure.
This is especially true when it comes to video games since online multiplayer and progress tracking and comparison are so important in gaming communities. It’s these reasons that put the Xbox 360′s Xbox Live service miles ahead of the competition with hits innovative features, simple interface, and excellent premium service.
First of all, there are two different online services Microsoft offers, the basic Silver and the premium Gold service for XBL. Silver is the basic package and has no monthly fee, it gives you access to all of the basic features of Xbox live like making an account and accessing the marketplace. Silver users can track their progress through achievements online with other players, private chat (single person to person chat), send messages, and generally communicate with your friends through the network.
You also, as I mentioned before, get access to the Xbox Live marketplace which is where you can download additional game content, try game demos, buy full games available in digital download format, and also rent or buy movies and music through the available media services.
Gold on the other hand practically unlocks the most useful feature of the Xbox Live service, which is the online multiplayer functions you’re looking for with an online gaming service. Silver users can still play through split screen or system connect (essentially LAN play) but if you want to play online with other people, you need to purchase Gold.
Now you might be asking yourself why you’d want to pay for an online play service when there are other platforms that offer a free service for online play and the answer is simple. Xbox Live has the best network and features the most players out of any of their competitors’ online networks. With other consoles’ online services, you can often be left in a lobby for hours looking for opponents or you’ll log into a game world with a significantly decreased population because even though it’s a paid service, Xbox Live has more members playing more games more often.
Online multiplayer isn’t the only perk for Gold members, though, Gold members also enjoy a number of other benefits that Silver members don’t get access to. Party chat lets you chat with a group of friends even if you’re playing different games on of offline.
Gold members also often get special deals and discounts on online content like DLC or Xbox Live Arcade games not to mention that there are some achievements and content for games that you can only complete or access by playing online.
Gold also grants access to advanced dashboard and media features like YouTube, Netflix, and the Bing search bar for your dashboard. Due to its stable, high quality network and huge array of features for its premium service, Xbox Live and Xbox Live Gold, Microsoft’s Xbox Live is easily the best online service available today.