What is Xbox Live Gold? How Much it Costs, What You Get, and How to Cancel It

By Sean Carey,
What is Xbox Live Gold

What is Xbox Live?

Xbox Live is Microsoft's online service which connects you to the world of Xbox. There are two options to the service, a free standard account (previously known as Xbox Live Silver) and the premium subscription-based Xbox Live Gold. Silver grants you access to the basics, such as being able to chat with friends, downloading games and apps and viewing content via things like Netflix, while Gold allows you to play online multiplayer games as well as a whole host of other benefits.

This guide is part of a series aimed at first time Xbox owners. TrueAchievements is the largest Xbox community site on the internet, allowing players to track their gaming achievements, discuss strategies and compete in contests and leaderboards. Once you have set yourself up on Xbox, you can register with us for free using your gamertag.

What is Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold is a premium paid service that requires you to either sign up to a subscription or purchase Xbox Live Gold Gift Cards. With Gold, you'll get all of the benefits of Silver with the added bonuses of playing online with other people. You'll also get extra benefits such as free games each month and discounts on select titles and DLC.

How much is Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold is a subscription-based service that can either be paid for via a rolling monthly fee or purchased in either three months, six months or one year periods upfront. A 12-month subscription will cost you $59.99 if bought directly via Microsoft. However, outlets like Amazon tend to sell 12-month pre-paid Xbox Live Gold Gift Cards for cheaper. Otherwise, a monthly subscription will set you back $9.99 a month.

Does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate include Xbox Live Gold?

There is another way you can get all of the benefits of Xbox Live Gold and more, and that's through purchasing a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. With Ultimate, you'll not only get all the benefits of a Gold member, but you'll also have access to the full Xbox Game Pass library of games and even more titles that you can play on your PC with Xbox Game Pass for PC — this totals well over 100 games. Currently, Xbox is running an offer where you can get Ultimate for three months for just $1.

Ultimate 3 Months

Ultimate 3 Months

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes over 100 high-quality games for console, PC, phones and tablets, all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold, and an EA Play membership, all for one low monthly price (subscription continues automatically at regular price). Play together with friends and discover your next favorite game. See more below.

After any promotional period, subscription continues to be charged at the then-current regular price (subject to change, plus applicable taxes), unless cancelled in Microsoft account. You’ll be notified before any price changes.

Joining Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will upgrade your remaining Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass for Console or Xbox Game Pass for PC time into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for the same amount of time, up to 36 months. All conversions are final. See xbox.com/gamepass for details.

See Xbox Game Pass Ultimate terms and details in the Product Description below.

How do I cancel Xbox Live Gold?

As we have covered in our guide on how to cancel Xbox Game Pass, the best and easiest route to cancelling Xbox Live Gold is to head to your Microsoft Account's Subscriptions and Services page on a PC or mobile browser (you'll have to log in to see anything). From there you should be able to see Xbox Live Gold under your active Services and Subscriptions. You can choose to turn off recurring billing here. You cannot get a refund on Xbox Live Gold – if you turn off recurring billing ahead of your Gold service expiry date you will have access to that service until it runs out. The biggest change you will see after cancelling Xbox Live Gold is that you will no longer be able to play online multiplayer in your Xbox games.

How do I renew Xbox Live Gold?

If you head to your Subscriptions and Services on a mobile or PC browser you can set up recurring billing on your Xbox Live Gold subscription. Alternatively, you can top up by purchasing Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate digital codes from third-party retailers.

That's the basics out of the way – but it's important to know what else comes with Xbox Live Gold, and how cancelling the subscription can affect what's available to you.

How does Games with Gold Work?

The next month's Games with Gold are typically announced in the last week of the previous month. There is a limited time that they'll be available throughout the month before they are swapped out for different games. Typically two of the four games will be available for free from the first of the month through to the last day of the month. The other two will be available for free from the 16th of the month through to the 15th of the following month. The games must be downloaded by an account with Xbox Live Gold during its free period – subscribers cannot download previous Games with Gold games for free. Once downloaded, players can play it as well as delete and re-download it as often as they like, whenever they like.

However, there is one caveat: you will need to keep subscribing to Gold to access these titles on Xbox One. If you cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscription, you will not be able to access any games you received through the Gold service — even if you still have them downloaded on your console.

What are this month's Games with Gold games?

You can keep an eye on the current Games with Gold with us by heading to our Xbox Games with Gold News page. We report on the upcoming month's Games with Gold games as soon as they are announced, along with the dates during which each game will be available to download. We also have a full list of every Games with Gold game in Xbox Live history – as repeat entrants are rare, it's a useful tool to see what Xbox have included in the service in the past.

Xbox Live Gold

What are Deals with Gold?

Another benefit of Xbox Live Gold is the Deals with Gold sales. During each sale that Xbox puts out on the Xbox Store, typically there are even bigger discounts available to those who have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Cancelling Xbox Live Gold doesn't impact games you have already purchased with the discount, but after cancelling players will only see the lesser standard discounts in the weekly sales.

When do the Deals with Gold sales run?

Every Tuesday, there is a sale on games and DLC on the Microsoft Store and this will include heavy discounts for Gold members. The deals typically run until the following Tuesday.

Where can I find a list of Deals with Gold?

The Xbox Store on your console will normally feature the current Deals with Gold prominently on the main page, and there is also a "Deals" icon on the Store dashboard. However if you want a comprehensive list of games along with prices in your area, TrueAchievements offers the earliest and most comprehensive listing of everything in the current Deals with Gold sale. Our stories will go out early in the morning on Tuesday, and players will be able to pick their currency region as well as whether the listed game features a Gold discount. Sometimes special sales turn up outside of the regular weekly schedule; 2019 has capped off with a Xbox Countdown Sale on Xbox One which shows you what we mean. You can also see all sales in the Xbox ecosystem in real time in our Xbox Sales hub, where Deals with Gold are highlighted. For the budding achievement hunter, we also round up the easiest completions in each week's Xbox sales.

Xbox Iive Gold

What is Free Play Days on Xbox One?

Xbox Live Free Play Days lets members of Xbox Live Gold play certain games for free each weekend – unlike Games with Gold, these are only playable for a few days. The number of games varies week to week, usually between one and four games are available to play for free over the weekend. The games are either reasonably new and looking to attract new audiences, or they are games in the week's Deals with Gold sales, to give players extra incentive to pick up a copy.

When does Free Play Days begin and end?

In most cases you will see the coming weekend's Free Play Days announced on the Thursday before. The games' free period tends to go live at one minute past midnight on the Thursday, Pacific time, and runs through until the end of the Sunday at 11:59pm Pacific time.

That's everything you need to know about Xbox Live Gold. In the future, we expect Microsoft might start consolidating all of their services under one banner – so it's a good time for everyone to get up to speed with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, currently bundling Gold with Game Pass. We've written a guide covering everything you need to know about Xbox Game Pass, so why not give it a read?
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Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Sean graduated from Southampton Solent University with a first-class honours degree in Journalism, which he uses to keep TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies topped up with gaming and industry news. When not scouring the web for the latest big story, you’ll find him tearing up the streets in Forza Horizon 5, or failing miserably in Call of Duty: Warzone.