Xbox Live

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Xbox Live

Xbox Live logo
Basic data

Maintainer Microsoft
developer Microsoft
Publishing year 2002
Current  version 2.0.16537.0
operating system Xbox 360 , Xbox One , Windows 10 , Android , iOS
category Online service
License Microsoft EULA ( Closed Source )
German speaking Yes

Xbox Live is an online service from Microsoft for the Xbox family of products . Launched on Xbox in 2002, it saw major expansions with the release of the Xbox 360 in 2005 and Xbox One in 2013. Support for the first Xbox ended on April 15, 2010.

Access to Xbox Live is free. However, in order to be able to use all functions, a paid gold membership must be purchased. In addition to a marketplace for downloading games, demos and trailers, the network also includes a community function such as the gamer card . The most important Xbox Live feature is the ability to play online against players around the world, if the game has a feature. In the meantime, most of the games make use of this option, whereas all games have to offer basic support for the Xbox Live network due to a specification by Microsoft.

The network currently has around 90 million active users worldwide (as of April 2020).


To connect to the Xbox Live network, you must have an Internet connection via LAN or wireless LAN. Microsoft sells a WLAN adapter for the older Xbox 360 consoles , which is connected to one of the USB ports on the console and thus enables access to Xbox Live. This is already integrated in newer Xbox 360 models and the Xbox One.

There are two different ways of accessing the Xbox Live network, some of which differ in scope and function:

  • the chargeable Xbox Live Gold , through which all functions can be used, and
  • Xbox Live Free (formerly Xbox Live Silver ), which can be used free of charge and for which video chat and multiplayer functions are deactivated, for example


Xbox Live offers VoIP voice communication across games via a headset that is connected to the Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller , and since October 2006 also video chat (with the Xbox 360 webcam or with the Kinect system) and a friends list , a list of the last 50 people played, and the ability to send voice and text messages within the live network. In addition, the gamertag (German: user name) and the associated profile can be viewed and managed on

Other cross-game features are:

  • The assignment to a gamer zone that represents the game style and is taken into account in online matches.
  • Game successes that are assigned in the player profile and can be compared with friends.
  • Reputation - Rating of players to increase or decrease the likelihood of meeting them in an online match.
  • Gamerscores (the total of the success points)
  • Xbox Store (download of demos, trailers, add-ons and other content for free and for a fee; Xbox 360 only)
  • Xbox Live Arcade (download arcade games , only Xbox 360)
  • TrueSkill (automatic multiplayer match search based on previous skill level)
  • Video-on-Demand (e.g. Xbox Video, Sky Go, ZDFmediathek )
  • social networks like Facebook , Twitter and YouTube
  • Backup of the games in the cloud
  • Internet Explorer for access to websites
  • Music streaming service Groove Music (discontinued)
  • Xbox SmartGlass (discontinued) made it possible to access functions of the Xbox 360 via a smartphone or Windows 8. This allows the connected device to be used as a remote control for the dashboard and games can also transmit additional interactive game content. The smartphone app for SmartGlass supports Android (from version 4.0), iOS and Windows Phone .

As soon as the user is signed in to Xbox Live, regardless of whether they are playing a game, watching a DVD or navigating the dashboard, they can access their friends list, see what they are playing and send them messages. The console not only shows which game the friends are currently playing, but also which level or which multiplayer game they are in (if they allow this in their privacy settings).

Games with Gold

With the Games with Gold program, Xbox Live Gold users can download two game titles for Xbox 360 and Xbox One free of charge every month. A new game appears at the beginning of each month and is replaced by another game after two weeks, which is then available until the next month. The games can also be played after the offer and regardless of the length of membership. The offer is in response to Sony's PlayStation Plus Membership Instant Game Collection program.


Xbox Live is a very centralized network. All game developers and content providers must adhere to Microsoft guidelines when using Xbox Live in their games. For this, the player only has to pay once for Xbox Live and can then use all online games and services without restriction, has a uniform operation and cross-game services, and the developer does not have to open his own online service, as Microsoft provides the entire infrastructure and servers. An exception form Phantasy Star Universe and Final Fantasy XI , as they are cross-platform and the server of the manufacturers use. For them must be paid separately.


Xbox Live on the first Xbox

Even after the release of the Xbox 360, Xbox Live was initially still available on the first Xbox. After the number of active players had recently been low, the servers for all games on the first Xbox were shut down on April 15, 2010. Microsoft justified this step by stating that it was now possible to introduce new features without having to pay more attention to back compatibility.

Xbox Live on Xbox 360

With the arrival of the Xbox 360, Xbox Live has undergone major changes and enhancements. One of the most important changes is the distinction between free and gold memberships. Xbox Live Free is free for all Xbox 360 players, but offers only a few functions online, such as the marketplace for videos and games and limited chat options.

There is a festival called Xtival every year. During this period you can test functions that otherwise only Gold members have access to.

Xbox Live on Xbox One

With the introduction of the Xbox One, Xbox Live was planned as mandatory and with online compulsory. However, following user protests, the online requirement was dropped again. However, an update via Xbox Live is required the first time you start the console.


Xbox Live is currently available in 42 countries (as of September 2014)

Live Anywhere

With the introduction of Windows Vista , Xbox Live with Live Anywhere was to become a cross-platform service and jointly connect the four platforms Xbox 360, Windows Vista, Windows Phone and the MP3 player “ Zune ” from Microsoft. Live Anywhere, installed as software on the other platforms , should offer the same features as Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, including friends lists, gamerscore, text messaging, marketplace, etc. that the games can share. Cross-platform multiplayer games should also be possible. The first cross-platform game was the 2007 first person shooter Shadowrun . In 2016, Windows 10 and Play Anywhere made it possible to play together with Xbox One.

Xbox Live clan scene

A clan scene has formed since Xbox Live appeared in 2002 . Following the example of the already established clan scene on the PC, there are several clan portals on which the players can communicate and play tournaments , ladders or cups . Every year the World Cyber ​​Games host the world championships in gaming, in 2007 in Project Gotham Racing , Dead or Alive 4 , Tony Hawks: Project 8 and Gears of War with material and cash prizes of up to $ 20,000.

There are now over 300 clans in German-speaking countries, which are financially supported by companies such as Bigben Interactive , Eibach or Vidis . In contrast to the US MLG teams Carbon or Final Boss, for example, no clan can claim that its members are pro gamers who can earn a living by playing.


At the end of 2007, there was increasing criticism of Xbox Live, which was primarily due to stability and performance problems, which among other things caused difficulties when dialing in and disconnects during games. Gold members in particular therefore asked for a statement from Microsoft. This published Xbox Live boss Mark Whitten on January 3, 2008, where he apologized for the inconvenience and said on record that Microsoft had the problems under control. In this context, each owner of an Xbox Live account was awarded a free game from the Xbox Live Arcade portfolio as compensation.

Following complaints from users, all English sexual terms have been blocked by simple string filters. Existing users were also blocked, including a Mr. Gay wood, a surname common in England.

At irregular intervals, users with modified Xbox 360 consoles are excluded from the network, the so-called "ban". However, the devices can still be used locally, as can the user account in the network.

After a console is locked, it will no longer be able to get updates for games from Xbox Live. In the meantime, however, these updates can be made accessible after a system update of the console via USB stick.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. : Xbox: No more support in Xbox Live
  2. [1], April 30, 2020, accessed on May 2, 2020
  3. Saving games in the cloud ( Memento from May 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Tobias Ritter: Xbox 360 - Two free games per month for Xbox Live Gold members. In: June 21, 2013, accessed March 17, 2014 .
  5. Jan Smeets: Xbox LIVE Gold: Microsoft competes with PS Plus - 2 free games per month! In: October 6, 2013, accessed March 17, 2014 .
  7. Windows 7 Smartphones as Handheld Gaming Device ( Memento from March 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Report to ( Memento from January 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Xbox: Microsoft is fighting against "gay names" ,, May 23, 2008
  10. MS locks up to one million Xbox 360s from online service , November 12, 2009
  11. ^ Microsoft excommunicates its customers , November 18, 2009
  12. XBOX 360 Update Center: How do I get those updates on my XBOX 360 console? , May 3, 2010
  13. Microsoft: System update with USB stick support ( Memento from June 3, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) , April 6, 2010