Xbox live 2015

Xbox live 2015 DEFAULT

Games With Gold. Buy the $60 yearly subscription and Microsoft throws in a few titles for free on the first and 15th of each month. So? Are they good? Are they old? Is this stuff anyone would care about?

Polygon is looking back on the year in free games today by picking apart both the dollar value of free games given out by Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus and the critical score of each game on offer. Here is our analysis of Games With Gold, which in 2015 gave out 42 discrete titles for the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

All told, a $60 Xbox Live Gold subscription in 2015 returned $946.53 in games to a subscriber who had both consoles. This monetary figure counts the same title on multiple platforms only once. (For example, a game on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One that costs $20 on each platform counts only $20 toward this total, not $40.) The prices are for the digital version of the game on the Xbox Marketplace as of yesterday.

Getting Started

Counting each version as an individual game, Games With Gold offered 47 games for free on the two consoles in 2015, and they averaged a rating of 76.

Games With Gold presented a number of challenges in writing an apples-to-apples comparison to PlayStation Plus. For example, the offer of Pool Nation FX on Xbox One Games With Gold from April to June. For purposes of Metacritic scoring, we counted this title in all three months. For purposes of value, and among the roster of titles offered, Pool Nation FX is only counted once.

Xbox Live also offered several titles on Xbox 360 in one month that were offered on Xbox One in a later month, as opposed to PlayStation, where multiplatform titles were all offered in the same month. Additionally, in November and December, backward compatibility introduced to Xbox One meant that any free Xbox 360 games in those months were also available for Xbox One subscribers, even though it was literally the same game.

Further complicating the comparison, Xbox saw "special edition" re-releases — games with extra content or features and not simply a remastering or a straight port. We considered these to be a separate title. So CastleStorm and Tomb Raider's "Definitive Editions" thus count separately from their original titles, also offered in this program over the past year.

In totaling the annual value offered by Xbox One, we also counted the same game twice if it was offered in a later month on a different platform. And in the case of the same game offered on the same platform in multiple months, its score was counted and averaged in all of the months it was offered.

Our reasoning behind all of this is that, when assessing the monetary value of a free offer, a discrete title should count only once. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is fundamentally the same on 360 and Xbox One, it's just offered in different months. A person with both platforms does not meaningfully benefit twice from having the game on each platform, except maybe in hard drive management, which is another kettle of fish

When assessing the critical reception of a game, however, the experience and quality can be different from platform to platform. So in averaging critical scores and monthly quality, each platform appearance of a game is treated as an individual game.

This dual standard is in place to prevent multiple copies of a game from inflating the value of the subscription, while also ensuring the entirety of this catalog's critical merit is reflected.

What about PlayStation Plus?

• That analysis is here.

With all that out of the way, let's break down what Xbox Live Games With Gold gave away, month-by-month, how good it is and how much it really costs.


  • Dark Dreams Don't Die (Xbox One)
  • MX vs. ATV Alive (Xbox 360)
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Xbox 360)

Average score: 75.6

Total value: $64.97

Skinny: The Witcher, currently going for $29.99 makes this a respectable month in both rating and money.


  • IDARB (Xbox One)
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Xbox 360)
  • Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360)

Average score: 76.6

Total value: $59.97

Skinny: Sniper Elite is not for everyone's taste, but it's not going to lower its price to make friends, either. This was a rare chance to see what that fuss was about without paying.


  • Rayman Legends (Xbox One)
  • Tomb Raider (Xbox 360)
  • BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360)

Average score: 90

Total value: $69.97

Skinny: Xbox Live Gold paid for itself in this month.


  • Pool Nation FX (Xbox One)
  • Child of Light (Xbox One)
  • Gears of War: Judgment (Xbox 360)
  • Terraria (Xbox 360)
  • Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
  • Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel (Xbox 360)

Average score: 68.7

Total value: $108.94

Skinny: Three more titles boosted the dollar value but two utter dawgs in Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel and Pool Nation FX dragged down the quality.


  • CastleStorm: Definitive Edition (Xbox One)
  • Mafia 2 (Xbox 360)
  • F1 2013 (Xbox 360)

(Pool Nation FX was extended from April)

Average score: 63

Total value: $88.96

Skinny: Even 18 months old, F1 2013 comes in at a huge $39.99 price point to prop up a weak month.

Avalanche Studios/Eidos Interactive

  • Massive Chalice (Xbox One)
  • Just Cause 2 (Xbox 360)
  • Thief (Xbox 360)

(Pool Nation FX was extended from May)

Average score: 64.3

Total value: $78.96

Skinny: Gamers and reviewers took a justifiable crap on Thief but it was still a lot higher, in both price and review score, than Pool Nation FX. Three months? What did Xbox Live see in that thing?


  • Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag (Xbox One)
  • So Many Me (Xbox One)
  • Plants vs. Zombies (Xbox 360)
  • Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)

Average score: 87

Total value: $79.96

Skinny: Shrugging off Pool Nation FX, Games With Gold shoots back to its second highest month (by average rating) of the year.


  • Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes (Xbox One)
  • How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition (Xbox One)
  • Metro 2033 (Xbox 360)
  • Metro: Last Light (Xbox 360)

Average score: 76

Total value: $79.96

Skinny: Four $20 games hovering around 75. That's called par for the course.


  • The Deer God (Xbox One)
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (Xbox One)
  • Battlestations Pacific (Xbox 360)
  • Crysis 3 (Xbox 360)

Average score: 74.25

Total value: $89.96

Skinny: Again, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a game that by itself almost makes the $60 Xbox Live Gold sub worth it. But who heard of The Deer God before or after this month?


  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Xbox One)
  • The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (Xbox One, Xbox 360)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (Xbox 360)

Average score: 82.3

Total value: $59.97

Skinny: The Walking Dead's first season was available on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One in this month so it only counted once. Still, it's Xbox's third month with all games rated 80 or better.


  • Pneuma: Breath of Life (Xbox One)
  • Knight Squad (Xbox One)
  • Dirt 3 (Xbox One), (Xbox 360)
  • Dungeon Siege 3 (Xbox One) (Xbox 360)

(Backward compatibility for Xbox 360 Games with Gold titles begins on Xbox One)

Average score: 73

Total value: 79.96

Skinny: Meh. Microsoft was probably more concerned with selling consoles and first-party titles in this month than add-ons here.


  • The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (Xbox One)
  • Thief (Xbox One)
  • CastleStorm (Xbox 360)
  • Sacred 3 (Xbox 360)
  • Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (Xbox 360)

Average score: 70.2

Total value: $84.95

Skinny: Did Square Enix have a deal where it would offer Thief free, but only if there was another game on the list that reviewed worse?

Wrapping it up

Games With Gold is definitely the service for those expecting video games with a lot of name recognition. They just may be a couple years old — or more. The price points are higher, which is entirely up to Xbox and the game's publishers, of course. But so is the rating, which on average is a solid half a point better than the titles offered on PlayStation Plus. That's even with a couple stinkers thrown in, including one that totally overstayed its welcome in Pool Nation FX.

Xbox Live Games With Gold is where one would look for a greatest hits collection rather than anything cutting edge. It had no companion to Rocket League on PlayStation Plus, for example. But then, PlayStation Plus didn't turn in a month like March did for Xbox, which dropped Tomb Raider, Rayman Legends and BioShock Infinite to average 90 critically. Still other months had one or two big name offerings weighed down by brand-X misfires.

Xbox Live Games With Gold is more like a solid department store showcasing name-brand fashion rather than PlayStation's edgier boutique, which will go to the trouble of finding new looks at the risk of a client not caring for them. Both services offered legitimate value in 2015, with Games With Gold making the most traditional and stable appeal to gamers.

By the numbers

Average score: 76

Average price:$20.37

Total value: $946.53

Platform Averages

Xbox 360: 78.5 Metacritic average, $21.60 per title.

Xbox One: 72.77 Metacritic, $18.08.

Highest rated Xbox 360 game: BioShock Infinite (93)

Highest rated Xbox One game: Rayman Legends (91)

Highest price Xbox 360 game: F1 2013 ($39.99)

Highest price Xbox One games: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and Thief ($29.99)

Lowest rated Xbox 360 game: Sacred 3 (51)

Lowest rated Xbox One game: Pool Nation FX (30)

Lowest price Xbox 360 game: CastleStorm and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising ($9.99)

Lowest price Xbox One game: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising ($9.99)

Metacritic ranges

90 and up: 3 titles

80 to 89: 18

70 to 79: 19

60 to 69: 5

59 and below: 5

Price ranges

$25 and up: 8 titles

$20 to $24.99: 5

$15 to $19.99: 21

$10 to $14.99: 13

$5 to $9.99: 3

$4.99 and under: 0


2015 Xbox One system updates

For the latest operating system versions and feature updates, seeWhat’s new: Xbox One system updates.

The list below contains Xbox One operating system version numbers and the features that were added or updated in 2015.

To find your console’s OS version:

  1. Press the Xbox button  to open the guide and select System > Settings.
  2. Select System > Console info.
  3. Your OS version is located in the second column.

Note If you’re in the middle of a system update and need to find your OS version on your console, pull the left and right triggers and the left and right bumpers on your controller at the same time. The OS version is listed as Build.

December 2015

Release date: 12/09/2015

OS version: 10.0.10586.1024 (th2_xbox_rel_1510.151203-1909) fre

  • Fixes for Edge browser
  • Minor bug fixes and improvements

November 2015

Release date: 11/23/2015

OS version: 10.0.10586.1016 (th2_xbox_rel_1510.151118-2147) fre

  • Minor bug fixes and improvements
  • Fix for consumers who use Discovery and Launch (DIAL) protocol
  • Improvements to global speech recognition

Release date: 11/12/2015

OS version: 10.0.10586.1006 (th2_xbox_rel_1510.151107-2322) fre

The New Xbox One Experience—the fastest and most social Xbox experience ever, including the ability to play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.

Xbox One backward compatibility

  • Play a growing number of digital and disc-based Xbox 360 games on Xbox One natively, with next-generation features such as screenshots, broadcasting, and Game DVR. Access your previously saved files, game add-ons, and achievements.
  • Xbox Live Gold members can do multiplayer gaming with friends no matter what console they’re on.

A faster, more social Xbox One experience

  • With the integration of Windows 10 into the New Xbox One Experience, you can access many popular gaming features up to 50% faster than before.
  • Instantly start a party, see what your friends are playing, and get updates to your recently played games from Home with no wait time.

New Guide and Community areas

  • Guide: Quickly access essentials with one button press to bring up the new guide. View your friends list, quickly start a party, get to settings, see system notifications, view your messages, and more using the guide, without ever leaving your game.
  • Community: In the new Community area, see what’s trending on Xbox Live and interact with the Xbox Live community by liking, commenting on, and sharing your favorite content. Quickly access the latest updates from friends and game developers through the Activity feed in Community.

Redesigned Home, OneGuide, and Store areas

  • Home: Share your screenshots and game clips more easily with the Xbox Live community, and see whether your friends are playing the same games from Home. Scroll up and down to get to your games and apps collection.
  • OneGuide: See what’s trending on live TV in the Xbox Live community in OneGuide. Browse for live TV listings with picture-in-picture, so you don’t miss what’s happening in your show. With app channels, quickly find something to watch from your favorite video apps—all in one place.
  • Microsoft Store: The Store expands to four easy-to-explore areas—Games, Movies & TV, Apps, and Music. The new vertical gallery view brings more listings at a glance. Browse through intuitive categories like Featured Staff picks, New Releases, Top Played, Top Rated, Coming Soon, and Recommendations to discover new games and other content.
  • Get one-click access to Game Hubs directly from Home to view or launch the last game you played, go to Microsoft Store for details about other games, or see what your friends are playing right now on Xbox Live. You can also access news and updates directly from the community and the developers, plus compare gamerscore, achievements, and other game stats with your friends.
  • For more information, go to the New Xbox One Experience.

September 2015

OS version: 6.2.13329.0 (xb_rel_1508.150825-1633) fre

Stability and performance update

The update provides a few minor fixes that address an in-game audio issue.

August 2015

OS version: 6.2.13326.0 (xb_rel_1508.150810-2029) fre

The Xbox team is hard at work building and fine-tuning the New Xbox One User Experience that will be unveiled to the preview community this fall. This update helps us get your console ready to receive the new experience.

July 2015

OS version: 6.2.13194.0 (xb_rel_1507.150702-2154) fre

This release provides updates to Game Streaming and Xbox One Backward Compatibility functionality, both of which are currently available to our Xbox One preview community. The Xbox team is hard at work building and fine-tuning the New Xbox One User Experience that will be unveiled to the preview community this fall.

June 2015

OS version: 6.2.12998.0 (xb_rel_1506.150601-2200) fre

Multiplayer & Party Chat updates

  • Fix to address multiplayer issues across a few titles.
  • Made some small updates to the Party app to help team better understand issues reported by the community.

Fixed an issue where certain type of disc-based bundled games would not properly install.

10-bit HD high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) platform support added

10-bit HD HEVC enables video-streaming apps, like Netflix, to use lower bandwidth to deliver HD-quality video streams. 10-bit Ultra color increases the video color precision from 8-bits to 10-bits—with 8-bits you only get 16 million colors, but with 10-bit Ultra color precision you get 1 billion lifelike colors that make your video more vibrant.

May 2015

OS version: 6.2.12825.0 (xb_rel_1505.150507-2219) fre

  • The ability to send and receive voice messages from the Xbox One messages app is being made available to all customers.
  • Compose and play back voice messages in the messages app when snapped on Xbox One. Access the messages app quickly by double-pressing the Xbox button  and selecting Messages. After selecting who you want to chat with, select the Microphone icon to enter the voice messaging menu.
  • Voice messages can be exchanged between Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles.

Power on/off from Xbox One SmartGlass

The versions of the Xbox One SmartGlass apps for Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android are being updated to let you power your Xbox One on and off when your devices are on the same home network as your console.

Dedicated servers for party chat

  • Xbox is introducing dedicated party chat relay servers to help solve the issues around NAT traversal that have prevented some people from being able to use party chat.
  • The party chat system will monitor the NAT types of users in the party. If conflicts arise due to Strict or Moderate NAT types, the system will automatically move the hosting services to the Xbox cloud in an attempt to resolve the NAT type conflicts. For information on NAT types, go to Network settings on Xbox One.

User-selectable power mode

  • The initial setup experience on Xbox One worldwide has been updated to enable users to select their preferred power mode.
  • Instant-On mode uses slightly more energy but has faster startup, enables use of the “Xbox on” voice command, and receives background system, games, and app updates.
  • Energy-saving mode uses less energy by shutting down the console completely, requiring you to press the Xbox button on your console to start up your Xbox One. This will create a slower startup time, and your experience will be interrupted for system, games, and app updates.

April 2015

OS version: 6.2.12710.0 (xb_rel_1504.150329-2200) fre

The party app will help you get your microphone enabled and show you when privacy settings or networking issues are blocking communication with particular party members.

  • You can more easily discover game hub content from activity feed items. You’ll see activity feed items when any of your friends follow a game, and you’ll also be able to get back to a game’s hub from activity feed posts related to the game – including feed items about the game’s achievements, game clips and screenshots.
  • We’ve added a link to game hubs from the game’s page in the achievements app.

Achievement notifications update

  • You will now see the achievement’s description in the notification so you know what you did to earn this achievement without having to open the achievements app
  • We increased the time that an achievement notification is displayed
  • We also made some performance improvements to make loading the achievements app from a notification faster.

The What’s On area is now available for Xbox One users in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. There you’ll find links to popular videos, games, movies, TV shows, game broadcasts and clips, along with Trending TV shows if you have configured OneGuide for your Xbox One console.

March 2015

OS version: 6.2.12521.0 (xb_rel_1503.150305-1449) fre

  • While playing a game, you can now take screenshots on your Xbox One console by simply by double-pressing the Xbox button  on your controller to capture a screenshot and pressing Y to save the screenshot. You can also say “Xbox Take a Screenshot” to take and save a screenshot.
  • The Upload app has been updated so that you can:
    • Manage your screenshots in addition to your game clips.
    • Use a screenshot as your background, by viewing the screenshot in full-screen mode then, press the Menu button  and select Set as background.
    • Share screenshots to your activity feed, attach to messages, add screenshots to your showcase, share to Twitter, and post to your OneDrive.
  • Additionally, your screenshots will be visible in your profile alongside your game clips in a new Game Clips and Screenshots area.

With the suggested friends feature, the Friends area in home and your friends list will help you find and add friends. Suggested friends will include people you might know, so you add more friends to game with, and top community broadcasters and clip creators, so you can get more great content in your activity feed. We’re also adding a new suggested friends page to the Friends area.

We’re rolling out two new ways to share your real name: with all of your friends or to everyone in the Xbox Live community. You can also continue to share your real name with select friends, or with no one, if that’s what you prefer. Gamertags are still the primary method of identifying yourself on Xbox Live, but sharing your real name helps people recognize you who might not know you by your gamertag. The new name sharing options can be found under Friends > My profile > Name sharing settings.

Three new icons were added to Party Chat to show each user their own microphone status:

  • Kinect icon means the Kinect is being used as the microphone.
  • Headset icon indicates that the headset is being used as the microphone.
  • A third icon indicates that you do not have a working microphone, in that you are connected to the Party but nobody can hear you.

We added a setting to enable you to vary the level of transparency for your background images, go to Settings, then My Xbox, then Tile transparency.

Privacy and online safety settings

We added a new setting for sharing voice search data to create an option for you to allow collection and analysis of voice data when using Xbox – Bing to search. To change the setting, go to Settings > Privacy and online safety > Share voice search data.

The Messages app has an added option to allow you to notify Xbox when you receive spam. To report a message as spam, select the message, press the A button , and then select Report > Spam.

Live TV in Australia & OneGuide

Support for OneGuide is now available to all users in Australia for free-to-air TV listings. Additionally, the OneGuide app will be pre-pinned for users in Australia after the March system update mandatory install window.

Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in Australia

Xbox One owners in Australia can pre-purchase the Xbox Digital TV Tuner at the online Microsoft Store, with availability planned for March 25, 2015.

February 2015

OS version: 6.2.12130.0 (xb_rel_1502.150209-1738) fre

Stability and performance update

This additional update fixes a couple of minor issues some users have experienced including video playback issues with some media applications.

OS version: 6.2.12128.0 (xb_rel_1502.150202-2200) fre

  • Quick connect: Previously, controller connections to Xbox One took approximately four to five seconds when powering on a controller. Now, it will only take about two seconds.
  • Stability improvements: The update also provides a number of fixes that address some of the controller disconnect issues reported by Xbox One users.

    Note To download the update, connect a controller to your Xbox One with a USB cable. Keep any headsets connected to the controller. Connect to Xbox Live. Press the Menu button , go to Settings > Devices & accessories, and then select the controller. If you have multiple controllers attached, select Buzz, which will make the selected controller vibrate. Then select Update to download the new firmware to the controller attached via the USB cable, and the screen will show the Updating controller… progress screen. When you see the Controller updated screen, press the B button  to go back to the Devices & accessories main page. Reselect the controller. The Firmware version should now be 1.2.2236.0.

These are the go-to centers for interesting content, tips, and tricks for your favorite titles. Every Xbox One game will have a game hub where you can see which friends are playing the game, compete with your friends in game leaderboards, dive into the coolest game clips and game broadcasts, and follow the game’s top broadcasters and clip creators.

Note To get to the game hub for your favorite game, find a game in your Pins, Recently played list, or My games and apps, press the Menu button , and then select View game hub. You can also search for any game in the Microsoft Store on Xbox One and then select the Game Hub tile from the game’s Store page.

  • Chat connection status: New icons have been added to let you know the current status of a chat connection in your party. A Clock icon means the connection is being made. A Squawker Ring icon indicates the connection was successful and actively shows who is speaking. An X icon means that networking limitations (such as a Strict NAT) are preventing the chat connection from completing for specific users.
  • Improved connectivity between multiple users with Strict or Moderate NATs: We also made some improvements to party chat in partial mesh situations when multiple participants are behind moderate or strict NATs with their home gateways/routers.
  • Game and party invitations: Made improvements to game and party invitations to help you know more quickly who is inviting you to what without having to wait for the text to scroll on the game and party invite notifications.
  • Performance improvements: Decreased the time it takes to set up person-to-person (P2P) connectivity for party chat, and streamlined the retry logic for setting up party chat sessions.

Custom backgrounds and tile transparency

We’ve added tile transparency to the Home tiles to make your background images more visible.

Note To set a custom background, go to Settings > My Xbox > My background. Some items can’t be made transparent due to usage rights/restrictions for certain images.

  • OneGuide for the Netherlands: Support for OneGuide is being added for Xbox Live members in the Netherlands.
  • TV trending in OneGuide: As you scan the OneGuide TV listings, you can see which shows are trending with a “Trending on Xbox” or “Trending on Twitter” note and icon within the details for each show. Currently, Xbox TV trending is available to all users in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, and Twitter trending is available to users in the United States.
  • Live TV trending (new countries): France, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico now have the ability to see live TV trending data in Xbox OneGuide.
  • Improved control of TVs, set-top boxes, and audio/video receivers: Xbox One works even better with more devices. Updates to the IR blasting database for new models have been added and address issues reported by our fan community.
  • “Trick play” with Xbox One Digital TV Tuner: Users with the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in supported countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain) are now able to see video frames when fast-forwarding or rewinding paused TV on Xbox One consoles.
  • Live TV streaming on Windows Phone and Android: Live TV streaming on Windows Phone and Android devices for Xbox One Digital TV Tuner owners has been added in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

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Hackers threaten to bring down Xbox and PlayStation networks on Christmas

This is what it's like to party with hackers

A new hacker group is threatening to take down the PlayStationNetwork and Xbox Live, just in time for people to open their new video games on Christmas.

The "Phantom Squad" has been tweeting about its plans for several weeks.

The hackers have already claimed responsibility for other outages on the gaming platforms earlier this year, as well as a recent Reddit outage.

"We will take down servers on christmas Or christmas eve Who Knows? Its up to you Will you waste Your Money On a console This christmas to find that It is #Offline?" the group posted in a series of tweets last week.

Phantom Squad claims that it is motivated to take down the Xbox and PlayStation networks to prove that Microsoft and Sony don't invest enough in cyber security.

"Xbox Live and PSN have millions upon millions of dollars... but do they use that money for better security? No. ... So until they open their eyes Xbox Live and PSN will remain vulnerable," Phantom Squad tweeted on Wednesday.

CNNMoney reached out to the hackers but did not receive a response.

Sony(SNE) and Microsoft(MSFT) also did not respond to requests for comment.

If Phantom Squad goes through with their plans, it'll be déjà vu for the two companies. Both the PlayStationNetwork and Xbox Live went down for several days at the end of last year.

The PlayStationNetwork was bombarded with "artificially high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay," Sony said at the time.

A different hacker group, the Lizard Squad, claimed responsibility for the denial of service attacks.

Kim Dotcom, the controversial tech entrepreneur and world champion gamer, helped stop the attacks last year and has already weighed in on this year's threat.

"Warning @Sony & @Microsoft," he tweeted last week. "You had 1 year to upgrade your networks. If Lizard Squad takes down PSN & XBOX this Xmas, we'll be pissed!"

Read: #Fail --15 tech flops of 2015

CNNMoney (New York) First published December 17, 2015: 2:02 PM ET


Xbox network

Online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service by Microsoft

The Xbox network, formerly Xbox Live, is an onlinemultiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft. It was first made available to the Xbox system on November 15, 2002.[5][6][7][8] An updated version of the service became available for the Xbox 360 console at the system's launch in November 2005, and a further enhanced version was released in 2013 with the Xbox One.[9][10] This same version is also used with Xbox Series X and Series S. This service is the account for Xbox consoles, accounts can store games and other content.

The service was extended in 2007 on the Windows platform, named Games for Windows – Live, which makes most aspects of the system available on Windows computers. Microsoft has announced plans to extend Live to other platforms such as handhelds and mobile phones as part of the Live Anywhere initiative.[11] With Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Phone, full Xbox Live functionality is integrated into new Windows Phones that launched since late 2010.[12] The service shut down for the original Xbox on April 15, 2010, and original Xbox Games are now only playable online through local area network (LAN) tunneling applications such as XLink Kai.[1]

Xbox network service is available as both a free service (formerly known as Xbox Live Free) and a subscription-based service known as Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft rebranded Xbox Live as Xbox network in March 2021 to cover all of its services related to Xbox and distinguish the Xbox Live Gold subscription service from these other services.


Launch with the original Xbox[edit]

As Microsoft developed the original Xbox console, online gaming was designated as one of the key pillars for the greater Xbox strategy. Sega had made an attempt to capitalize on the ever-growing online gaming scene when it launched the Dreamcast video game console in 1999, including online support as standard, with the SegaNet service in North America and Dreamarena in Europe.[13] Nevertheless, due to lack of widespread broadband adoption at the time, the Dreamcast shipped with only a dial-up modem while a later-released broadband adapter was neither widely supported nor widely available. Downloadable content was available, though limited in size due to the narrowband connection and the size limitations of a memory card. The PlayStation 2 did not initially ship with built-in networking capabilities.

Microsoft, however, hoped that the Xbox would succeed where the Dreamcast had failed. The company determined that intense online gaming required the throughput of a broadband connection and the storage space of a hard disk drive, and thus these features would be vital to the new platform. This would allow not only for significant downloadable content, such as new levels, maps, weapons, challenges and characters, to be downloaded quickly and stored, but also would make it possible to standardize bandwidth intensive features such as voice communication. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates both had a vision of making premium download content and add-ons that would attract many new customers. Based on this reasoning, the console included a standard Ethernet port (10/100) in order to provide connectivity to common broadband networks, but did not include a modem or any dial-up support, and its online service was designed to support broadband users only. Critics scoffed at it, citing poor broadband adoption at the turn of the century.[14][15]

When the Xbox launched on November 15, 2001, the as-yet unnamed online service was destined for a Summer 2002 deployment.[16] Xbox Live was finally given a name at E3 2002 when the service was unveiled in its entirety. Sound-dampened booths and broadband-connected Xbox consoles—featuring an early version of Unreal Championship—demonstrated the service on the show floor. The Epic title was one of the flagship titles for the service, which was slated for a debut on November 15, 2002, marking the anniversary of the Xbox launch. Microsoft announced that 50 Xbox Live titles would be available by the end of 2003.[17] Utilizing the required broadband bandwidth, Xbox Live featured a unified gaming "Friends List", as well as a single identity across all titles (regardless of the publisher), and standardized voice chat with a headset and communication, a feature that was still in its infancy.

Leading up to the launch, Microsoft enlisted several waves of beta testers to improve the service and receive feature feedback. The first wave of beta testers were given Re-Volt! (which never was released officially) and NFL Fever 2003 to beta test. Once beta testing concluded, Microsoft sent these beta testers a translucent orange memory card, a headset carrying case, and a beta tester t-shirt with the slogan "I've got great hands". When the service debuted, it lacked much of the functionality that later titles included, but Xbox Live grew and evolved on the Xbox and many aspects of the service were included with the Xbox 360 console out of the box, rather than through a later update. Microsoft granted Live-related patent that gives Xbox 360 users access to watch other gamers compete against each other over Xbox Live.[18]

The packaging for playable Xbox Live titles on the original Xbox console featured a trademark lumiscient orange-gold bar underneath the Xbox header. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Brute Force sported a Live "bubble" design, as they only featured downloadable content. It was changed later, wherein all Xbox Live titles included the universal orange-gold Live bar. By the time of the Xbox 360, all titles were required to provide at least a limited form of Xbox Live "awareness".[clarification needed] In July 2004, Xbox Live had reached 1 million online users.[19] In July 2005, Xbox Live had reached 2 million online users.[20]

Subsequent growth[edit]

The second Xbox Live logo, used from 2005 until 2013

On November 15, 2007, Microsoft celebrated Xbox Live's 5th anniversary by offering its then over 8 million subscribers the title Carcassonne free of charge and awarding gamers who had subscribed to Live since its inception 500 free Microsoft Points. Due to intermittent service interruptions during late December 2007 and early January 2008, Microsoft promised to offer a free Xbox Live Arcade game to all Xbox Live users as compensation, in an open letter to all Xbox Live members from Mark Whitten, Xbox LIVE General Manager.[21] Increased demand from Xbox 360 purchasers (the largest number of new user sign-ups in the history of Xbox Live) was given as the reason for the downtime.[22] On January 18, 2008, Microsoft announced Undertow would be offered free to both Gold and Free members for the week starting January 23 through January 27 as compensation.[23]

On November 12, 2009, Dennis Durkin, COO of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, announced that November 10, 2009, the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 marked the busiest day ever on Xbox Live, with over two million active users simultaneously.[24]

On February 5, 2010, Marc Whitten announced that Xbox Live had reached 23 million members.[25] On the same day, Larry Hyrb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson, announced on his blog that Xbox Live support for the original Xbox would be discontinued on April 15, 2010, including online play through backwards compatibility on the Xbox 360 and all downloadable content for original Xbox games.[26]

In August 2010, Microsoft announced an increase to the cost of Xbox Live Gold in several countries by 20%, for the first time since its inception.[27][28][29] The basic service was also renamed. Prior to October 2010, the free service was known as Xbox Live Silver.[30]

It was announced on June 10, 2011, that the service is going to be fully integrated into Microsoft's Windows 8.[31]

In October 2011, Microsoft announced live streaming cable television with various providers.[32]

In February 2013, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, shared that Xbox Live members now number 46 million, up 15 percent from a year ago, during the Dive into Media conference in Southern California.[33]

In June 2014, Microsoft retracted the Xbox Live Gold requirements to download streaming media apps (including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Internet Explorer, Skype, and others), though various rental or subscription fees may still apply.[34][35]

On December 25, 2014, both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live suffered network disruption after a denial-of-service attack.[36] Functionality was restored on December 28, with some users experiencing difficulties in the days that followed.[37] A group called, "The Phantom Squad" has threatened to disrupt the Xbox Live network through a denial-of-service attack on December 25, 2015.[39]

In 2019, the Official Xbox Magazine revealed that Xbox Live would be made cross platform, and will serve Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch.[40]

Microsoft added Xbox Live Gold to its Xbox Game Pass program as part of a new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier in April 2019.[41]


In January 2021, Microsoft planned to increase the price for Xbox Gold, which would effectively double the price for three- and six-month subscription options. However, these price increases would not affect existing subscribers when they resubscribe at the same level nor those already subscribed through the Xbox Games Pass Ultimate program.[42] However, after user complaints, Microsoft opted to not increase the price.[43]

Microsoft officially announced that they would be branding Xbox Live as Xbox network in March 2021 as to cover all the services related to Xbox and not just Xbox Live. Xbox Live Gold would remain the same name and to distinguish the subscription program from the set of services. Microsoft also stated that with this, it will eliminate the requirement to have Xbox Live Gold to play free-to-play games on Xbox consoles.[44]

User information[edit]


A Gamertag is the universal name for a player's username on Xbox Live. A Gamertag is a unique identifier that can include numbers, letters, and spaces. Gamertags can be changed using an Xbox One or Xbox 360 console (first time is free, subsequent changes are charged), while the Xbox 360 supports eight Xbox Live-enabled profiles per memory unit and thirty-two profiles on the hard drive.[45]

A player's Gamertag account status can be checked using a variety of online tools, which is useful especially when looking for a new Gamertag, or confirming that a Gamertag exists. Using a valid Gamertag, any player can be located and messaged from within Live. There are also several websites which allow users of Gamertags to upload photos and information about themselves.

Gamertags can be used in a variety of places, including Games for Windows – Live, Zune, XNA Creators Club, and of course on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Gamertags also contain avatar images (or "gamer pictures"), sometimes associated with certain games or game characters. On Xbox 360 individual gamerpics are available, but they are usually bundled into packs. It is also possible to take "Public" pictures (which are shown to all that view a profile, unless the user has a different "personal" picture set) which can be taken of avatars while using the avatar editor.

Users were formerly forbidden to use strings such as gay or refer to homosexuality in any way in their Gamertag or profile due to it being considered "content of a sexual nature", even if the string occurs in a legitimate surname. Incidents where a woman was suspended from the service for identifying herself as a lesbian, and an incident where a male user was suspended for using his surname "Gaywood" in his username attracted controversy.[46][47][48][49][50] In February 2009, Xbox Live Lead Program Manager for Enforcement Stephen Toulouse clarified the service's policy on sexual identification, stating that "Expression of any sexual orientation [...] is not allowed in Gamertags" but that the company is "examining how we can provide it in a way that won't get misused."[51] Changes announced in March 2010 permit Xbox Live members to express sexual orientation in their gamertags and profiles.[52]


The Gamerscore (G) is an achievements point accumulation system that reflects the number of achievements accumulated by a user on Xbox Live through the displaying of the number of points accumulated. These Achievement points are awarded for the completion of game-specific challenges, such as beating a level or amassing a specified number of wins against other players in online matches and other various in game challenges.

Initially, retail Xbox 360 games offered up to 1,000G spread over a variable number of Achievements, while each Xbox Live Arcade title contained 12 Achievements totaling 200G. On February 1, 2007, Microsoft announced on their Gamerscore Blog some new policies that developers must follow related to Gamerscore and Achievements in future releases.[53] All regular disc-based games must have 1,000 Gamerscore points in the base game; the title can ship with fewer than 1,000 points, but anything added later must be free.[citation needed]Game developers also now have the option of adding up to 250 points via downloadable content every quarter after the first year of release (for a total of 1,750 points). Xbox Live Arcade titles also allow players to obtain Gamerscore, initially up to 200 Gamerscore with additional points up to 50 Gamerscore via downloadable content (for a total of 250 points),[54] but some XBLA games now contain up to 400 Gamerscore without DLC.

On May 26, 2007, Halo 2 was the first Games for Windows title to feature Achievements, which counted towards a player's Gamerscore.

On March 25, 2008, Microsoft cracked down on "Gamerscore cheaters" (those who used external tools to artificially inflate their Gamerscore), and reduced their Gamerscores to zero without the option to recover the scores that had been "earned", and branded the player by denoting on their Gamertag that they were a "Cheater".[55]

The development of the Gamerscore system has created a new niche in the internet economy. Many websites have been created to provide gamers with tips and tricks for getting achievement points. Some sites are solely devoted to these achievement guides, and some blogs provide gaming guides in addition to their other content.

On March 13, 2014, Ray Cox IV or "Stallion83" became the first player in history to reach 1 million Gamerscore.[56]


The Gamercard is an information panel used to summarize one's user profile on Microsoft's Xbox Live. The pieces of information on a Gamercard include:

  • Gamertag (in front a silver or gold bar) (active gold members who have had Xbox Live for less than a year feature small bubbles. Anything a year or over will feature the number of years.)
  • Gamer picture (avatar)
  • Reputation
  • Gamerscore
  • Gamer Zone
  • Recent games played

A player's Gamercard can be viewed via the Xbox 360 Dashboard, or online through The top bar that displays the Gamertag is shown in front of either a silver or gold bar which designates if the gamer has an Xbox Live Free or Gold subscription (respectively). If the gamer is part of the Xbox 360 Launch Team, the top bar will also have additional text stating "Launch Team" in the background. Third-party sites allow users to post a rendered version of their Gamercard as a small Flash applet or JPEG image on any website or Internet forum.

Similarly, Mac OS X users can download widgets that display their Xbox Live Gamercard within Mac OS X's Dashboard. These can be downloaded onto any Mac with OS X 10.4 or higher via Apple'swidget download page.

There are four Gamer Zones; Recreation is for casual gamers, Family is for family-friendly gamers (without profanity, etc.), Pro is for competitive gamers who enjoy a challenge, and Underground is for no-holds-barred gaming where anything goes (as long as it does not violate the Xbox Live Terms of Use). However, in practice these gamer zones are displayed only on the Gamercard of the player, and do not tend to affect the gameplay experience or the matching of players in online games.


Main article: TrueSkill

TrueSkill[57] is a ranking and matchmaking system which was first implemented as part of the Xbox 360's Live services. Developed at Microsoft ResearchCambridge (United Kingdom), the TrueSkill ranking system is now used in over 150 titles for the Xbox 360[citation needed] and in the Games for Windows – Live game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II. It uses a mathematical model of uncertainty to address weaknesses in existing ranking systems such as Elo. For example, a new player joining million-player leagues can be ranked correctly in fewer than 20 games. It can predict the probability of each game outcome, which enhances competitive matchmaking, making it possible to assemble skill-balanced teams from a group of players with different abilities.

When matchmaking, the system attempts to match individuals based on their estimated skill level. If two individuals are competing head-to-head and have the same estimated skill level with low estimate uncertainty, they should each have roughly a 50% chance of winning a match. In this way, the system attempts to make every match as competitive as possible.

In order to prevent abuse of the system, the majority of ranked games have relatively limited options for matchmaking. By design, players cannot easily play with their friends in ranked games. However, these countermeasures have failed due to techniques such as alternate account(s) and system flaws where each system has its own individual TrueSkill rating. To provide less competitive games, the system supports unranked Player Matches, which allow individuals of any skill level to be paired (often including "guests" on an account). Such matches do not contribute to the TrueSkill rating.

Xbox Games Store[edit]

Main article: Xbox Games Store

Xbox Games Store (formerly Xbox Live Marketplace) is a unified storefront which offers both free and premium content for download including Xbox Live Arcade titles, Xbox indie games, original Xbox games, Xbox 360 game demos, game expansion material (e.g. extra maps, vehicles, songs), trailers, gamer pictures and themes, television shows, music videos, movie rentals, Apps and games and more.[58]

On November 17, 2009, Microsoft released a downloadable Zune application for the Xbox 360. This application turns the Xbox 360 into a Zune device. Once one downloads the Zune application, it takes over the Marketplace menus and sections of the console. With the addition of the Zune Marketplace to an Xbox 360 console, one is able to purchase movies instead of only being able to rent them. The Zune Marketplace has a much more extensive content offering compared to the classic Xbox Live Marketplace.[58]

Xbox Play Anywhere[edit]

See also: List of Xbox Play Anywhere games

Xbox Play Anywhere is a cross-buy program announced at E3 2016 and launched September 13, 2016. Under the scheme, supported games purchased digitally on Microsoft Store for Xbox One can also be downloaded on a Windows 10 PC (running Windows 10 Anniversary Update or later) through Microsoft Store using the same Microsoft account at no additional charge, and vice versa. The scheme also promotes the ability to synchronize save data, achievements, and downloadable content between Windows 10 and Xbox One versions of a game.[59]

Xbox Live Gold[edit]

Xbox Live Gold is a paid subscription service for the Xbox community. Signing up to Xbox Live is free, but a recurring subscription fee is required to access for Gold. Features that require a Gold subscription include online multiplayer in non-multiplayer games, game recording and media sharing.[60][61] Similarly, ordinary Xbox Live members can download and access the Twitch live streaming application, but in order to broadcast gameplay of one's own, a Gold subscription is necessary.[62] While initially requiring Gold, free-to-play titles, as well as the party chat feature on Xbox consoles, no longer need a subscription to play as of April 2021.[63] Subscribers are benefited with space "in the cloud" for storing files, and granted early or exclusive access to betas, special offers, Games with Gold, and Video Kinect.

Games with Gold[edit]

Games with Gold is a program in which digital downloads of games are offered at no charge to Gold subscribers. Games with Gold launched for Xbox 360 in July 2013,[64] while Xbox One games were added in June 2014.[65] Xbox 360 receives a game twice per month, while Xbox One receives two games once per month. Games downloaded through the program on Xbox 360 are free to own with no further restrictions.[65] Xbox One Games with Gold titles require an active Gold subscription in order to use, and become locked and unplayable if the subscription lapses.[65] As of November 2015, all Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 are backwards compatible on Xbox One.[66][67]

New Xbox Experience [edit]

At E3 2008, Microsoft announced that all Xbox 360 owners would receive a new dashboard update, titled New Xbox Experience (NXE), on November 19, 2008[68] that added several new features. Though the new interface is generally downloaded when a new Xbox is connected to Xbox Live, some games, including Fight Night Round 4, Portal 2 and Dragon Ball: Raging Blast, will also update it.

One feature is the ability to watch standard quality and 720p streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix through the Xbox 360. This feature is only available in the U.S. and Canada, and requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription and Netflix Unlimited. Users are also able to watch Netflix titles with their friends in a party of up to 8 players. Xbox Live members have the ability to view over 12,000 movies and episodes. Users can browse for titles based on their interests and Netflix ratings with the Xbox interface. Users no longer need to visit the website to choose the content to watch.[69][70] When a player parties up with a group, they also have the ability to join games together, chat together or view a slideshow of photos.

Another feature gives players the ability to create Avatars. Players are able to customize avatars by changing body shape, facial features, hair and clothes, as well as new clothing being released from time to time.[71] Xbox Live requires that users select an avatar.[68] Another feature is the ability to install an entire game disc onto the Xbox 360's hard drive, which decreases loading times, and significantly reduces noise due to the game being read from the hard drive and not the louder disc drive (similar to the PS2 HD LOADER Feature). For most games this feature also reduces the amount of time spent reading the disc, thereby helping to extend the life-span of the optical drive mechanism.[72]

During the Press Conference at E3, Microsoft announced Xbox Live Primetime, a series of scheduled programs where Xbox Live members can play against each other. The first announced game is an adaptation of the Endemolgame show1 vs. 100 in which one Xbox Live member will play against 100 other members with a live host and prizes awarded.[73] On July 15, 2010, Microsoft confirmed that 1 vs. 100 would be cancelled.

The Xbox Guide has also been redesigned. Players are not only able to view their friends and messages, but are able to access their game library. If a user has installed any game onto their Xbox 360 Hard drive, they are able to immediately start the game from the guide, whether they are in a game or in the dashboard. Microsoft also confirmed that every new 360 comes with 3 free Xbox Live Gold trial accounts, upon creating a new account the player is allowed to claim a trial period upon refusing to pay for Gold subscription; therefore allowing the user to try online gameplay for that one-month trial period, after which the player is required to pay subscription fees to continue matchmaking online.[74] Major Nelson also announced that the update supports 16:10 on VGA or HDMI, expanding the choice of resolutions.[75]

While previous system updates have been stored on internal memory, this is the first update to require a storage device. The update requires at least 128 MB free space on either a memory card or a hard drive.[76] Microsoft has stated that many Core or Arcade users will not have sufficient space on their limited memory cards for the new update and thus provided them with a free 512 MB memory card or a discounted 20 GB hard drive for a limited time.[77] This promotion has since ended and all new arcade units now come with 512 MB of internal memory.[citation needed]

The NXE was leaked onto Torrent sites and could be installed via a USB drive. Microsoft's Major Nelson stated that unauthorized installation of NXE would result in the user's console being banned from Xbox Live until its official release which was on November 19, 2008.[78]


On September 22, 2010, Major Nelson announced that the Xbox Live dashboard would be redesigned once again. The new design would incorporate the Metro interface used in other Microsoft products, such as Zune HD and Windows Phone. As well as a new color scheme and other minor tweaks to the overall layout, the update would also include a "Kinect hub", designed specifically for the Kinect sensor for easier dashboard navigation. Xbox Live members were able to sign up for a preview program, which opened on September 29, 2010.[79] The new dashboard officially went live on December 6, 2011.[80][81]

On June 6, 2011 at E3, it was announced that the dashboard would be updated again to include the Bing search engine, allowing users to search for games, trailers, movies etc. Kinect would also be updated allowing users to navigate the dashboard and Bing using their voice. Other updates would include cloud storage, YouTube access and live television streaming.[82] The dashboard update was delayed till December 6, 2011.[83]

On May 13, 2014, Microsoft announced changes to the Xbox Live Gold membership that would allow subscribers to access available apps such as Netflix, Twitch,, etc. without a Gold membership on both Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles, though various rental or subscription fees still apply.[84] Microsoft would be offering pro-rated refunds for the service for requests up until August 31, 2014. The company also announced "Games with Gold" that would give subscribers free games on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One with one single membership, and "Deals with Gold" for exclusive discounts for Xbox One games at the Xbox store.[85]

Microsoft Movies & TV / Microsoft Films & TV[edit]

On November 6, 2006, Microsoft announced Microsoft Movies & TV (Microsoft Films & TV in other supported countries) (formerly Xbox Video Marketplace, Xbox Video and Zune Video), an exclusive video store accessible through the console. Launched in the United States on November 22, 2006, the first anniversary of the Xbox 360's launch, the service allows users in the United States to download high-definition and standard-definition television shows for purchase and movies for rental onto an Xbox 360 console for viewing. With the exception of short clips, content is not currently available for streaming, and must be downloaded. Movies are available for rental from the Video Marketplace. They expire in 14 days after download or at the end of the first 24 hours after the movie has begun playing, whichever comes first. Television episodes can be purchased to own, and are transferable to an unlimited number of consoles. Downloaded files use 5.1 surround audio and are encoded using VC-1 for video at 720p, with a bitrate of 6.8 Mbit/s.[86] Television content is offered from MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Turner Broadcasting and CBS; and movie content is Warner Bros., Paramount and Disney, along with other publishers.[87]


The "Game with Fame" initiative has been Microsoft's way to connect Xbox Live members with celebrities and game developers.[88] Notable participants of "Game with Fame" include Shia LaBeouf, Jack Black, Rihanna, Velvet Revolver, Victoria Justice, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Scissor Sisters, Paramore, Korn, OK Go, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Dream Theater, Linkin Park, Green Day[89] and Insane Clown Posse.[90]

"Xbox Ambassadors" are Xbox Live members selected by Microsoft who have proven themselves to be helpful towards others, and are willing to assist new Xbox Live users and answer their questions. As of March 2009, there are ambassadors representing 18 countries in more than 30 languages.[91]

"Xbox Rewards" was a promotion designed to provide gamers incentives to play on Xbox Live by subsidizing achievement points earned with actual rewards. Gamers were required to register for specific challenges which, if successfully completed, would yield a challenge-specific reward.

"Xbox Live Rewards" is a current promotion providing Xbox Live members with Reward Points (not to be confused with the defunct Microsoft Points) when they renew their Gold Membership, buy something on the Marketplace, etc.

"Xbox Live Labs" was a program found in the community section and was available from March 10 to 27, 2011 for members in the United States. If a player chose to participate, they were rewarded with avatar items and 3 zero-point achievements.[92]

SentUAMessage was a show which aimed to answer questions sent in by viewers on anything related to the world of Xbox. The show ran for four series and was released every other Saturday. The show was driven entirely by user-generated questions. To ensure the volume of questions remained high, fans could contact the show in a variety of ways, including sending questions to the SentUAMessage Gamertag over Xbox LIVE, writing an email, or using social network websites.[citation needed]


Microsoft implements a number of different security measures on its Xbox Live service. One of these takes the form of a proactive security check that assures that only unmodified machines may access their service. On May 17, 2007, Microsoft banned consoles with modified firmware from Xbox Live. According to Microsoft, consoles with firmware of unknown origin, quality or intent were banned permanently from Xbox Live. A Microsoft representative indicated that the action was taken to assure "the integrity of the service and protect our partners and users."

It has been discovered that pretexting has been used to impersonate an Xbox Live user for sabotage. Microsoft has implemented greater security to decrease the service's susceptibility to social engineering.[93]

In early November 2009 Microsoft banned approximately 1 million consoles with modified firmware from Xbox Live.[94]

In October 2011, users of Xbox Live reported having unauthorized access to their Xbox Live accounts, with Microsoft points subsequently being used and/or bought to purchase various in-game items for FIFA 12. Microsoft is responding to such incidents by restricting access to the account for 25 days whilst the fraud team investigates. Both EA and Microsoft have denied that there is a problem with security.[95]

On December 25, 2014, both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live suffered network disruption after a denial-of-service attack.[36] Functionality was restored on December 28, with some users experiencing difficulties in the days that followed.[96]


The Xbox network is available in 43 territories.[97]

Users from other countries are not officially supported, although it is possible for them to access Xbox network if they provide an address located in a country where Xbox network is officially available. The country selected during account creation affects the payment options, content, and services available to the user.[98] Previously, users were unable to change their account region, but in October 2012, Microsoft introduced an account migration tool as a pilot project, which allows the user to change their region and maintain their Xbox network profile. Subscriptions, such as that for Xbox Music, cannot be transferred with this method.[99]

On May 18, 2011, Microsoft announced that it planned to launch Xbox network in the Middle East within the next twelve months,[100] but it never occurred during that time period. However, on October 20, 2012, Microsoft officially announced the service will be launching in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in three days time.[101] On November 4, Microsoft announced that the service would be launched on November 29 in Argentina and Israel.[102] The service also appeared in the following month in Slovakia and Turkey. The service was launched in China in late 2014.[103]

First-generation Xbox Live shutdown[edit]

Xbox Live for the original Xbox was discontinued by Microsoft on April 15, 2010, encouraging gamers to upgrade to the Xbox 360.[104] Through loopholes and flaws, however, users were still able to play after the provided time and date Microsoft announced the shutdown. Users could continue interacting in the network, however new users could not enter the system. Notably, 14 users played Halo 2 until May 11, 2010. Though official Xbox Live service has been discontinued for the original Xbox, tunneling software such as Xlink Kai exists, allowing original Xbox users to play system link games such as Halo 2 with other people from around the world, much like Xbox Live. However, no third-party software developed thus far has been fully compatible with all original Xbox titles.[citation needed]

The "Noble 14"[edit]

The Noble 14 were a band of users who continued to play Halo 2 until May 11, 2010, days after the service was officially discontinued by Microsoft.[105][106] The users would play custom games together, with all attempting to stay on for as long as possible. An Xbox spokesperson made a statement regarding the Noble 14, "A small band of a committed few, engaged in a battle against insurmountable odds. It's not Noble team from Halo: Reach, it's the final, passionate few who are still playing Halo 2. We wish them the best in their battle against time." The last 12 users were offered Halo: Reach Beta Codes by, as well as having their Xbox Live memberships extended by Microsoft.[107] Eventually "Agent Windex" and "Apache N4SIR" were the final two users on the service, however two days after the third user "Lord Odysseus11" was disconnected by an internet drop, user Agent Windex was booted on May 10, stating "Good job Apache, you're the last one." The next day, May 11th, Apache N4SIR was booted offline after many hours since Agent Windex was disconnected.[108] He stated that he wanted to play 15 hours, 14 for each member, then one final hour for the community.

Live Anywhere[edit]

Main article: Live Anywhere

Live Anywhere is an initiative by Microsoft to bring the Live online gaming and entertainment network to a wide variety of platforms and devices, including Xbox, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows (XP SP2/SP3, Vista and 7), Windows Phone, Java-based phones and Zune.[109] The concept service for mobile devices has been demonstrated at E3 and CES on a Motorola Q mobile phone.[110]

Microsoft's Chris Early clarified that Live Anywhere is a long-term project expected to be rolled out over several years.[111]

On February 15, 2010, Microsoft announced its new mobile operating system, Windows Phone. With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has integrated full Xbox Live functionality into Windows Phone.

Microsoft announced in March 2019 that it would be providing Xbox Live SDKs for iOS and Android mobile devices, allowing developers on those platforms to integrate most services of Xbox Live into their applications and games. Microsoft also stated that they are looking to bring this functionality to the Nintendo Switch,[112] anticipating this to be a post-launch feature for the Switch port of Cuphead.[113]


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Last update: date-March 2019(March 2019)

Bloomberg estimates that Xbox network likely generated over $1 billion in revenue in the 2010 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2010.[114]

See also[edit]


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Xbox Live pummeled by DDoS attack; hacker group claims responsibility

Xbox Live pummeled by DDoS attack; hacker group claims responsibility
with 55 posters participating

In an attack aping the work of the infamous Lizard Squad hacking group, the similarly titled Phantom Squad has claimed responsibility for a DDoS attack on Microsoft's Xbox Live service. While the service is now currently back up, some users experienced problems logging in overnight. Sony's PlayStation Network was not affected.

The attacks follow threats issued by Phantom Squad on its now suspended Twitter account. The group threatened to take down both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network over the Christmas period for as long as a week. Responding to criticism over the threats, the group said: "Why do we take down PSN and Xbox Live? Because cyber security does not exist," and "Some men just want to watch PSN and Xbox Live burn."

This was followed by a tweet yesterday reading "Xbox Live #Offline," coinciding with the reported Xbox Live problems. "Maybe if you guys didn't talk shit about us, we would not hit Xbox Live this early," read another tweet. The group then threatened to take down PlayStation Network next, before its Twitter account was taken offline.

Phantom Squad issued another threat before its account went offline.

Microsoft issued a status update on its support site following the attacks:

"Hey Xbox members, are you having trouble purchasing or managing your subscriptions for Xbox Live? Are you also having an issue with signing into Xbox Live? We are aware of these issues and are working to get it fixed ASAP! Thank you for being patient while we work. We'll post another update when more information becomes available."

While Phantom Squad does not appear to be affiliated with Lizard Squad, the group was clearly inspired by Lizard Squad's attack on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network over Christmas last year. The planned DDoS attack made it difficult, if not impossible, for players to log into PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on Christmas day.

The FBI was later reported to be investigating the group and the attacks. After taking down other sites in DDoS attacks—including the infamous imageboard 8chan and the UK's National Crime Agency—some members of the group were arrested, including a 17-year-old who was convicted of a whopping 50,700 charges but escaped jail time. Six UK teens were also arrested later in the year for being "customers" of Lizard Squad's DDoS service.


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And then asked a question to which I still cannot answer: Is it true that you fucked me all night. I felt good. But I don't remember anything. We still live with her.

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