Microsoft launched its online service dubbed as Xbox Live in November 2002 for the original Xbox. The service then grew and improved a lot with its update for the Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live comes in two flavours; Gold and Live Free (previously known as Sliver).
Gold membership is a subscription-based membership that features all of the services offered by Microsoft including online multiplayer gaming. The Xbox Live Free membership is free to signup for and offers a fraction of services made free for the membership and also does not include online multiplayer gaming.
Microsoft’s paid Gold subscription pays for its powerful and fast servers to deliver a smooth online gaming experience as well as streaming content. Xbox Live directly competes with Sony’s PlayStation Network or PSN and Nintendo’s relatively new Nintendo Network.
Sony’s PSN, although being free and offering all of the services including online multiplayer gaming for free to all the members, came under heavy scrutiny and fire when the network got hacked which showed vulnerabilities of the network with many citing that Sony in regards to offering the service for free hasn’t invested or wasn’t investing in making the network more secure. Xbox Live on the other hand topped PSN in terms of services and experience but PSN has improved a lot since its outage in 2011. PSN now with PlayStation 4 will offer online multiplayer gaming behind a paywall known as its premium subscription called the PlayStation Plus or PS+.
Larry Hryb aka Major Nelson in his recent blog post on his website showed new Friends App and Multiplayer features of Xbox Live for the Xbox One. He also thanked the players for spending more gaming hours with the Xbox Live service than its competitors.
First, we want to thank you for choosing and for spending more time with us. In the last 12 months, we delivered more than 20 billion hours of gaming and entertainment on Xbox, over 17% growth over the previous year.
He then stated that according to NPD’s Online Gaming Report for the month of August 2013 showed that 50% of online gamers preferred and played using Xbox Live on Xbox 360 rather than using PlayStation Network on PlayStation 3.
We’re proud and humbled to be the top online gaming service – according to NPD’s August 2013 Online Gaming report, close to 50% more online console gamers use the Xbox 360 for playing online than the PlayStation 3.
says Major Nelson.
We’ll have to see how Xbox Live fares against the PlayStation Network once the next-generation consoles are launched and with Sony’s promise of improved service and experience.