What is Xbox Live

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Xbox Live (trademarked as Xbox LIVE) is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft. It was first made available to the Xbox system in November 2002. 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. Xbox LIVE is a competitor of Sony’s PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s relatively new Nintendo Network.

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. With Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone, full Xbox Live functionality is integrated into new Windows Phones that launched since late 2010. The service shut down for the original Xbox on April 15, 2010 and original Xbox Games are now only playable online through Lan Tunneling applications such as XLink Kai.

The Xbox Live service is available as both a free and subscription-based service, known as Xbox Live Free and Xbox Live Gold respectively, with most features such as online gaming restricted to the Gold service. Prior to October 2010, the free service was known as Xbox Live Silver. The packaging for playable Xbox Live titles on the original Xbox console featured the trademark 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 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”.