What Is Xbox Live Silver?

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Bryan Bedder

Xbox Live Free (Silver) is a free version of the Xbox Live service. The main difference between the Gold and Free levels of service is that you can't play online multiplayer games with Xbox Live Free. You can still download content from the Xbox Live Marketplace, download games in the Xbox Live Arcade, and keep a friends list so you can chat and share your gamer profile and achievements.

Xbox Live Silver and Video Apps

Previously, Xbox Live Silver (Free) users couldn't use apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, WWE Network, or anything else.

 That changed in 2013, however, and now you can use all of these video apps and more without needing an Xbox Live Gold subscription.  You will still need, of course, to pay any fees those services may require (like a Netflix subscription, for example).  Free members on Xbox One can also use EA Access (EA's awesome subscription service that lets you play a ton of EA and EA Sports games).  

Really the only thing Free (Silver) Xbox Live members can't do is play online multiplayer games with friends.  Pretty much everything else on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One is now available to everyone.

It is also important to note that your Xbox Live profile and subscription works on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One - it is the same account and everything on both platforms.  If you pay for Xbox Live Gold, it applies to both systems.  

Why You Should Consider Going Gold

While Xbox Live's free version does have a lot to offer, particularly now that Gold isn't required for apps like Netflix, having Xbox Live Gold is still worth it even if you don't necessarily play online multiplayer games a lot.

 There are often sales and discounts available only to Gold members and occasionally demos and game previews are only for Gold subscribers as well.

One major thing Xbox Live Free users miss out on, however, is the Games With Gold program that gives Xbox Live Gold members free Xbox 360 and Xbox One games each month.

 Every month at least 2 360 and 2 XONE games are available for free and it has included games like Tomb Raider 2013, Crysis 3, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, The Deer God, #IDARB, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and many more.  Games With Gold practically pays for itself.

There is actually a lot of value to having Xbox Live Gold besides just online multiplayer that adds up to more than it costs a month.  If you do want to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold, here's an article on ways you can trim the price down a bit.