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I have been looking into the details of the Xbox 360 (I only own old school consoles and the Nintendo Wii) and one of the most touted features of the console is the ability to play online with friends. I was looking at the details of Xbox Live on and it says only the Gold membership allows you to "Play games online with friends." This is appalling and goes against everything that makes PC gaming great. I don't want to start a flame war here on consoles vs. PC, but this is just crazy talk.

Is this really true? Is this enforced by all games? How much does it cost?

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Badge of bad question title ? – Mushu Jul 7 '10 at 21:52
The reason behind this is the operating costs of Xbox Live servers and network, just FYI. – John Gietzen Jul 7 '10 at 21:52
@MarmouCorp That was an awesome title and you know it. :P – cowgod Jul 7 '10 at 22:03
It made me smile. – Mushu Jul 7 '10 at 22:25
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes, sadly, it's true. To play multiplayer games over the Internet, you must have a Gold subscription. it's about $40-50 / year, $20 / 3 months or $8 / month, but you can sometimes find them for cheaper.

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I would debate that it's necessarily a sad thing. You get more than just "Play Online with your Friends" with that Gold Subscription. – Alastair Pitts Jul 7 '10 at 23:22
I would also argue that the service is well worth the price. The additional functionality provided by Live is far superior to the experience I get on my PC (not to mention other consoles such as the Wii). It is strange but I think Microsoft could learn a valuable lesson from... Microsoft. – tzenes Jul 8 '10 at 16:51

To play any game online it requires Xbox Live Gold. To play multiplayer on your console it requires Xbox Live Silver (which is free).

You can purchase Gold for 12 months for $49.99 or 3 months for $19.99

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Sad but true. Interestingly Sony has adopted a slightly different business model and you don't need to pay a subscription to play multi-player games with the PS3.

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