Xbox Live Ditches 'Silver' Class For 'Free'

Say goodbye to Xbox Live "Silver," as Microsoft appears to be dropping the name of that tier of its Live service in favour of something less confusing. "Free" is the new "Silver."

It's little more than a name change for the free entry level version of the Xbox's online service, but the scrubbing of Silver from the all-new appears to be rather thorough. Xbox Live Gold still (obviously) exists as the premiere paid-for version of the account program, but Silver appears to have fallen out of favour.

Graeme "AceyBongos" Boyd, Xbox Community Manager for Europe, implies the change is official and clearly intentional on his Twitter feed.

The new now breaks down Xbox Live memberships into three columns, Free, Gold and the still forthcoming Gold Family.


    If it was really about making things less confusing, they'd also change "Gold" to "Pay us money".

      Isn't that what is meant by the word 'premium"?

      Then again, it might be already accurate. You have to shell out a fair amount of 'gold' to keep the service.

      You mean "pay us money for what you should be able to play for free"

    Microsoft - Hey look everyone, we have an Free* online service like Sony! So you all can't say that we don't offer a Free* service, because we now do!

    Free* online service, here at Microsoft

    * - Note, if you want to do anything significant with the online service, you will still have to pay though...

      Huh, and here I thought the standard was to complain th Gold doesn't offer enough benefits to warrant paying for it...

        That's another issue itself, but my point is that I'd wager this change is simply to align with the competition.

        New customers to XBOX are not going to know or care about what a Silver Member is. But if all your marketing tools now state words like "Free" people tend to take more notice.

          marketing tactics to confuse the consumer.
          typical M$.

    You mean pay us a very small amount of money per year to keep the best online dedicated servers in the world running for Halo and other awesome games.

    Xbox Live is as lag-free as possible because we pay for it.
    We get cross-game and app chat, and so many other features that are exclusive to Xbox 360 and need a good deal of bandwidth, ppl power, and technology to keep running. Also, compare download times on XBL to PSN. Nuff said.

    We're also paying for research and development to make the future and/or next generation as good as it can possibly be.

    Stop complaining.
    If you don't want to pay then don't.

      My friend, Microsoft doesn't host any dedicated servers for games. Most titles, Halo included, are peer to peer. Microsoft simply provides a matchmaking service. Whenever you join a game, you are actually connecting to another paying, XBL customer who is the host. There are very few exceptions, such a FFXI, but in the case of that game the servers are hosted by Square-Enix. When Microsoft talks about "taking down servers" such as the case of Halo 2's retirement, they are actually referring to the reallocation of their matchmaking servers to newer games.

        Several games use dedicated servers, such as L4D and Battlefield. Ironically, I always get better performance on P2P games, with L4D2 adding the option to select P2P or dedicated.

          Valve probably has most of their servers situated in the US, if not all... I hate landing on one of them when playing on PC, too!

      I agree with you, if people dont want to pay for an online service, then dont pay for it. I bought a ps3 because i wanted to play street fighter 4 online for freebies.

      If you dont want to pay for live then get a PC, a DS or a PS3

        Yeah, because everyone has a spare $400/$500 just lying around...

          Loops, I agree with you... not everyone has that laying around, I know I don't.

          But, as you yourself have pointed out many times, people can layby games and consoles. I don't own a PS3, if I was to buy one it would only be for the exclusives.

          Gold is a once a year fee... and that's how I look at it, like insurance or car rego.

          I think the name change is a dumb move... every console is sold as including xbox live, and it says on the box and marketing what that is.

            Honestly i have no qualms paying for a gold subscription, as you said, it's only once a year. But i'm mainly a single player type person so i'd rather spend the money on a new game rather than a subscription.

            My only real gripe is that they charge whilst no one else seems to.

      As someone who I assume pays for XBL, OF COURSE you'd want to believe that Gold is worth your money. It's the same reason a man who bought an overpriced white elephant keeps fooling himself into thinking it was a good deal, it's a matter of pride.

      But you know what? We get why it's a necessary behaviour. So just do yourself a favour and read "MILDLY IRATE VIDEO GAME GUY's" comment because he obviously knows more about it than I do.

      I ditched XBL once I picked up a PS3 for that very reason, it's free. I already have an internet/phone/WoW/etc subscription to pay for, so when it comes to picking multi-platform games that I'd want to take online, 90% of the time I'd pick PS3.

      American Xbox owners got the even worse end of the stick when it comes to Netflix streaming. Another subscription-based service that while completely free (and now disc-less) on PS3, requires the additional paid XBL Gold subscription to run. Ouch.

    It has never been free. So why should it ever be free?

    If I'm going to sell apple juice and then a guy across the street is giving orange juice away for free, that doesn't mean i have to make my juice free as well.
    If no one buys it then that's my problem. But if people do then I'll keep selling it.

      You might refuse give away your apple juice, but either way, you're screwed. This is the same folly that is currently killing traditional newspapers. They were never free, but the proliferation of 'free' information on the internet is now gutting their subscriptions. So most major papers have done one of 3 things

      1) Continue charging traditional for subscriptions while losing advertising to Craigslist etc > Net loss.

      2) Give it away for free and attempt to recruit the loss via 'hit'-based online ads > Net loss.

      3) Their own paid online distribution that is highly subsidised to make it competitive with online aggregators (eg $2-3 apps etc)

      #3 is the only viable option and I hope it's something that MS understands. They might not make XBL free, but it's definitely in their interest to make it as cheap as possible.

      This isn't like launch where the 360 had a free market to dominate with impunity. PSN is now a very credible competitor on the scene and is undeniably better value for money.

    Yeah don't go forgetting that Ps3 has its own paid service if you actually want to get anything decent. People bagging out MS, when Sony is just jumping on the same wagon.

      I agree to an extent, Sony wanted in on the money to be made with some form of subscription service, they at least choose a option that doesn't restrict the biggest drawcard of an online service, online gaming.

      With Microsoft, you HAVE to pay to play online, there is no option.
      With Sony, the paid service isn't required, it just gives access to monthly games, discounts, etc. It's non-purchase doesn't stop you from accessing the main function of the online service.

      I'd expect that Sony will follow the MS model with the PS4, but I seriously hope not. As I'm not a fan of the new 'issue' that has popped up recently, if I buy a 2nd hand game, I have pay MS to play online and then again have to pay the game publisher to play their game.

      Theoretically I feel as though I should only be paying one of the other, not both.

        But you accept that they're 2 different things.

        You're also paying a third party (your ISP) for the service too.

          I agree they copied the subscription concept, just not the model.

          On the ISP front, I didn't think of them at the time, but I still wouldn't include them into my reasoning.

          My internet access isn't as directly related to online gaming, but general information, research, news, video, music, etc... So there will always be a need for someone to provide these services.

          Having got that means to play an online game, why should I really need to pay 2 companies to play it online?

          Hey, if MS wanted to become an ISP which at the same time meant I was a Gold Member also, then I certainly would be interested.

            Sorry, I should have been more clear.

            When I said 2 different things I wasn't refering to the two consoles subscription methods.

            I meant, 1 company makes the game... and another makes the hardware and matchmaking framework.

              It's all for the publisher to get some money for a game that is second hand, so I've bought a game second hand, or if I even borrow it from a friend, I have to pay to play it online.

              Now I would have no problem with such scheme if the publisher was using that money to directly support their own game with servers or something like that, but it's not. They can't because that's all handled by someone else, which we are already paying for.

              So there is no real requirement for the online pass to be bought, aside from the publisher looking at getting more money.

              Guess I'm looking at where I think this is heading and I really do think that we will see more and more games become episodic and eventually have to buy the endings to single player games.

      "if you actually want to get anything decent"? Is that a joke? The "decent" stuff you get on Sony's paid service mostly boils down to (a) access to betas (personally I prefer to play finished games rather than pay for the right to test their software for them) and (b) "free" downloads of games that are usually so old that if they're any good to begin with then you've already bought them long before they show up as your "free" game of the month. And which then disappear if you let your subscription lapse.

      Sony's paid service is a crock, but it's also unnecessary because all the stuff most people actually want (including online play) is included in the free service.

      This would actually make some sense if it wasn't for the fact that the 'free' PSN service is about what you get with XBL Gold anyway. And the 'premium' PSN service is SIGNIFICANTLY better value for money with free demos, betas, and a free PSN games every second month.

      People don't give a shit Sony's charging for a premium because that's exactly what it is. Extra value for the people who want something on top of basic gameplay.

      The people calling Sony out on charging for their "+" are just being greedy and have a major sense of entitlement for features that haven't even come out yet. And the XBL subscribers are just loving their sour grapes.

    Again I must say this to the PS3 people:

    You say that paying to play online is bad, but the actual console is cheaper. If it's $100 cheaper, that's two years of Xbox Live.

    You guys that argue it should be free, it costs you less than pretty much any new game you're buying now for a whole year.

    And now from what I've experienced: I've seen less hackers on Xbox online than I have on PS3. I don't even own a PS3 and I've seen more. From what I hear, the firmware updates are pretty bad too on PS3.

    Paying money to get an online service that works is worth it.

    They just went all PSN.

    No wait, at least with PSN's free service you can still play games online.

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