22nd May 2011 - The advent of widely available super fast broadband and the rise in popularity of LG home cinema systems and other brands of home cinema has made online gaming accessible to millions. Microsoft’s Xbox Live service boasts over 23 million users worldwide, but with a one year subscription to the Gold service costing around £35 (AUS$88), is it worth it?
Every Xbox 360 owner can access the basic features of the service for free through a Silver account. This allows players to send and receive messages, download demos and additional content from the Xbox Marketplace.
In order to be able to play with or against other gamers online, a Gold account is required. Once activated it’s quick and easy to set up an online session through a games menu screen.
Xbox Live uses an intuitive matchmaking service that ensures players will be put up against others of a similar skill to avoid one sided match-ups that become quickly demoralising and frustrating.
With so many people playing online, developers are putting more and more effort into their multiplayer modes than ever before.
Games such as Call of Duty, Gears of War and the Battlefield series are clear examples of this. When taken online these titles really begin to shine, with epic battles either alongside or against friends becoming extremely addictive.
A Gold membership also provides a few additional benefits over a Silver account. Some downloadable content is released early to Gold members and Sky customers can watch Sky TV on demand through their Xbox 360. (Note: Sky TV not available in all countries).
If you are a keen online gamer, an Xbox Live Gold account is worth every penny due to the hours of extra play provided by multiplayer modes. After all, if you owned a PS3 you wouldn’t spend all your time worrying about buying all those non-essential but highly desired PS3 accessories, you’d just buy them! However, if you rarely play online, a Silver account may suit your needs just fine.
Article by UK Guest Writer Alex Corcoran