What Is Xbox Live Silver?

Xbox Live is free for all players

The free version of Xbox Live, previously known as Xbox Live Silver, includes features that were once only available to gamers with paid Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Microsoft dropped the Xbox Silver designation and now offers free Xbox Live and paid Xbox Gold memberships.

Information in this article applies to the Xbox Live service for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Xbox Live was discontinued for the original Xbox.

Free Xbox Live Features

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After you log in to your Xbox console and connect with Xbox Live, you must create a profile and a Gamertag. After that, you can take advantage of the many features that come with your free Xbox Live membership:

  • Enjoy music, sports, and premiere entertainment apps.
  • Use Microsoft Edge and Skype on your TV.
  • Earn achievements and improve your Gamerscore.
  • Preview upcoming games.
  • Access beta versions of games.
  • Make a friends list.
  • Download games and other add-ons from the Xbox Marketplace.
  • Exchange text and voice messages with other Xbox Live users.
  • Join a gaming community.

Your Xbox Live account is the same as your Microsoft account, so you only need to remember one login.

Xbox Live Silver vs. Gold

While Xbox Live Silver provided everyone with the aforementioned benefits, playing Xbox games online requires an Xbox Live Gold membership. Other benefits of Xbox Live Gold include exclusive demos and members-only sales, while Microsoft's Deals With Gold web page features discounts of up to 75 percent off for select Xbox 360 and Xbox One games, add-ons, and other items.

Every month, the Games With Gold program offers Xbox Live Gold members free Xbox 360 and Xbox One games. There are usually at least two free Xbox 360 and two Xbox One games each month. In the past, the selections have included Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Hitman: Blood Money, Rayman Legends, Halo 3, Gears of War 3, and many more.

The Games With Gold feature practically pays for the entire Xbox Live Gold subscription by giving you hundreds of dollars worth of free games throughout the year.

Both free and Gold Xbox Live memberships include access to downloadable content from the Xbox Marketplace and a friends list so that you can chat and share your achievements. Xbox Live Parties and party chat, however, are only available to Gold members.

Your Xbox Live profile and subscription works on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One. If you pay for Xbox Live Gold, it applies to both systems. 

Xbox Live Streaming Apps

In the past, free Xbox Live members couldn't use video streaming apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, WWE Network, Twitch, or VUDU. Now, those apps are available to everyone, though you still must pay any fees those individual services charge.