How to Use an XBox Live Gold Membership

By Ryan Spaulding

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Xbox Live Memory Device (hard drive or memory unit)

  • Online capability

  • Xbox Live Gold membership card (optional)

  • Microsoft Points card (optional)

You can use Xbox Live and Xbox Live Maketplace to play video games with others and access more gaming content.
i controller image by Thommi from

Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game system provides online services of Xbox Live and Xbox Live Marketplace for those who sign up for an Xbox Live Gold membership. Xbox Live and Xbox Live Marketplace allow players to not only enjoy online gameplay with other players, but also to download music and video; rent and watch movies and television shows; and even purchase video games.

Setting Up an Xbox Live Gold Account

Select your gamer profile and go to "My Xbox."

Choose the "Join Xbox Live" option.

Click "Sign Me Up."

Enter a valid email address.

Enter a password, then confirm the password by typing it in again.

Select a question from the list, then enter the answer you would use.

Enter your birth date and choose "Continue."

Accept the "Xbox Live Terms of Use and Privacy Statement" and click "Continue."

Choose one of the three Gold subscription plans available if you plan to use a credit card. If you have an Xbox Live Gold membership card, choose the "I have a subscription card" option. Click "Continue" after you choose your membership details.

Enter your first name, last name and phone number and click "Continue."

Choose whether you want any Xbox spam mail sent to your email address.

Choose whether you want "Recreation," "Pro," "Family" or "Underground" as your "Gamer Zone."

Click "Continue" to verify your information.

Click "Continue" and create a gamertag.

Click "Continue" to send your information to Xbox.

Choose whether to use your "Avatar" for your gamer picture.

Benefiting From Xbox Live Gold

Insert an Xbox 360 video game with Xbox Live compatibility in your console. Select the online multiplayer option for the game and play with or against other Xbox Live Gold members.

Select the Game Marketplace tab to browse through downloadable video games, demos, videos and add-ons. A lot of Game Marketplace content is free to download, but for most of it you must use Microsoft Points (Xbox's online currency) to purchase these items. You do need adequate space on your Xbox 360 hard drive or memory unit to accommodate these downloads.

Download applications, including Facebook, Twitter, Zune and

Scan through current Xbox 360 news involving video games, Xbox Live community updates and exclusive offers.

Customize your Xbox Live experience by altering your gamertag's Avatar, dashboard, and gamer pic.