- You can get Xbox Live by signing up for a Microsoft account through the Xbox website or your Xbox One console.
- Xbox Live's free subscription tier lets you download games and apps, stream videos and movies, and make a "Gamertag" — your online username.
- Xbox Live is free to join, but you'll need to upgrade to Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass in order to play multiplayer games online.
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Xbox Live is the name of Microsoft's long-running online service for Xbox consoles. If you want to play your Xbox One or Xbox Series X games online, you'll need to have Xbox Live.
There's currently two different versions of Xbox Live. Xbox Live Free is the default, which you can sign up for just by making a Microsoft account. It'll let you download games and streaming apps like Netflix or YouTube, as well as make an online username called a Gamertag.
However, if you want to play games online, you'll need to upgrade to Xbox Live Gold. Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 per month (or $24.99 for three months), and gives you online multiplayer, free games every month, and more.
If you want even more, you can upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — a service that includes all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold, lets you download dozens of popular games for free, and has gotten rave reviews from all across the industry.
But first things first: To get Xbox Live, all you need to do is create a Microsoft account. Here's how to do it on both the desktop website and an Xbox One console.
How to sign up for Xbox Live using the Xbox website
1. On a computer with an internet connection, go to xbox.com.
2. Click on the account icon in the upper right corner, to the right of the shopping cart icon.
3. When asked to sign into your account, click "Create one!"
4. Type in the email address that you want to associate with your Xbox Live account. Click "Next" when you're done.
5. Type in a password for your account and click "Next."
6. Type your first and last name in the respective fields, then click "Next."
7. Confirm your location and date of birth using the drop-down menus. When you're finished, click "Next."
8. Microsoft will send a verification email to the email address you used to sign up for Xbox Live. Log into your email account and check your inbox for the email. You'll need the security code Microsoft sends you in order to finish creating your account.
10. Back on the Xbox website, enter the code you received in your email and click "Next."
11. Complete the security exercise and click "Next" when you're finished.
12. The next screen will ask you if you want to stay signed in once you leave the Xbox website. Click "Yes" or "No" depending on your preference.
13. On the next screen, click "I Accept" to confirm your information and complete the signup process.
You'll now be able to log into your Microsoft account on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X. If you want to upgrade your account, head to either the Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass pages.
How to sign up for Xbox Live using an Xbox One console
1. Boot up your Xbox One and controller. Once it's powered on, press the Xbox button on your controller.
2. Use your controller to navigate to the "Profile & system" tab, then select "Add new" and press the A button.
3. If you already have a Microsoft account, type in that email address using your controller. If you don't already have a Microsoft account, select "Get a new email" and press A, then type a new email address (or select "Use Your Favorite Email" to use an existing, non-Outlook email account). When you're done, press the Start button. (For the purposes of this guide, we're assuming you'll be creating a new email.)
4. Type your name and press the Start button when you're finished.
5. Type in the password you want to use with your Xbox Live account. Press the Start button once you're done. On the next screen, type in the same password and press Start again.
6. Use the controller to select your birth date. Select "Next" and press A when you're done.
7. Select "Add phone" or "Add email" based on your security preferences, then follow the prompts.
8. When you're asked to agree to Microsoft's Services Agreement and Privacy Statement, select "Next" and press A.
9. Confirm which notifications you'd like to receive from Microsoft, then select "Next" and press A.
10. Type in the Gamertag you want to use. This will be how people recognize you on Xbox Live. When you've chosen a Gamertag that's unique, select "Next" and press A.
11. If you want more information on how Microsoft uses data it collects from Xbox Live, select "Tell me more" and press A. If not, select "Next" and press A. On the following screen, you'll be asked if you want to participate in optional data collection. Select "Send optional data" or "No thanks" depending on your preferences, and press A.
2. There'll be several screens like this that ask you to review certain information; read them at your own pace, and continue through them by selecting "Next" and pressing A.
3. Select the security settings that best represent your privacy preferences. Press A when you've selected the one you want.
4. Select either "Link controller" or "Skip this" depending on your preferences.
5. Pick your favorite color using the controller and the A button. When you're done, select "Next" and press A.
6. There will be a couple more screens you'll have to navigate through by selecting "Next" and pressing A. Finally, you'll come to a screen that asks if you want to sign up for Xbox Game Pass. You don't need to do this to use Xbox Live, but you can if you want to.
After that, you're ready to play!
Related coverage from Tech Reference:
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'Why won't my Xbox One connect to Wi-Fi?': 5 ways to troubleshoot your Xbox One's internet connection
How to link your Epic Games account to an Xbox Live account to share gaming data, purchases, and more
How to find your Xbox One's IP address or set up a static IP address on the console
How to appear offline on an Xbox One, and adjust who can see your online status
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