How to Play Multiplayer Games on the Xbox 360
By Aaron Wein
Updated September 22, 2017
Items you will need
Xbox Live subscription code, or credit or debit card.
Router or modem
Xbox 360 wireless adapter (optional)
The Xbox 360, a gaming console created by Microsoft, allows gamers to compete in online multiplayer matches using its Xbox Live service. All that's required is a gold Xbox Live account. Setting up your account is a simple process that can be completed using your console. Once it's set up you'll be able to log in and play any of your multiplayer games using Xbox 360's unique matchmaking features.
Set up your Xbox Live connection by connecting your Xbox 360 to high-speed Internet. There are two options: connecting it to your network via Ethernet cable or connecting to your network via a wireless adapter. The simplest and fastest connection is connecting via Ethernet cable directly to your modem or router. If you must connect wirelessly, use the Xbox 360 wireless adapter, sold separately. See the Resources section below for connection tips.
Test your Xbox Live connection after connecting your Xbox 360 to your high-speed Internet. Navigate to the dashboard, select "My Xbox," choose "System Settings" then "Network Settings." Run the diagnostic test to confirm your connection works. Your Xbox 360 will offer troubleshooting tips if the test fails.
Create an Xbox Live gold account. Log out of all profiles then press the "Guide" button and choose "Join Xbox Live." Follow the prompts, entering your billing and personal information. You will also choose your gamertag during this process, which will serve as your online name and identity. Lastly, you will customize your profile. Your Xbox 360 will then create the account.
Insert your Xbox Live multiplayer game and open the game's Xbox Live multiplayer menu. Different games have different options but certain features remain the same across all multiplayer games. There is the TrueSkill ranked matchmaking system, which pits you against players of similar skill levels. There are also unranked player matches, where you can practice and hone your skills in a non-competitive atmosphere. Lastly, there is the quickmatch matchmaking system, which automatically searches for games for you, whether they are unranked or ranked.
Add and play with friends. Xbox Live allows users to add up to 100 friends. Add a friend by pressing the "Guide" button, navigating to the "Friends" tab, then selecting "Add Friend." Type in your friend's gamertag then press the "Start" button and choose "Send Friend Request." Your friend will need to confirm the request to complete the process. You can play multiplayer games with friends by opening your friends list and inviting them to a game lobby.
Communicate with friends and opponents using an Xbox 360 headset. The wired Xbox 360 plugs into your controller. Once it's plugged in, you can speak into microphone and listen to others from the ear piece.
Aaron Wein is a copy editor for Skagit Valley Publishing. He has been a writer and editor since 2004, contributing to Washington-based publications and clients such as the "Bellingham Herald," "Western Athletics," "GNAC Sports" and Microsoft. Wein obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Washington University.