Top positive review
Typically saves me time and money vs. buying in a physical store. I can also reduce my credit card risk by pre-paying!
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2015
I purchased a 12 month Xbox Live Gold membership for the first time on Amazon a couple years ago and I love the convenience. I typically use the "Online Game Code" option which provides you with a code you enter on your Xbox or within your Xbox Live account. This allows me to make the purchase and basically instantly redeem the code on my Xbox Live account. It's great if you need to quickly start, reactivate or extend membership without waiting for a physical card to arrive in the mail or without needing to run to the store to buy one. I also like using these prepaid cards or codes to pay for Xbox Live over paying with a credit card or debit card. If you pay with a credit/debit card Microsoft typically automatically renews it when your subscription is up. As a single dad I may not always have the required funds where they need to be when that happens. I don't like surprises and the associated fees that come with them. ;) I prefer not having a credit card linked to my Xbox anyway because it helps prevent fraud and the kids can't "accidentally" purchase something.
WHICH MEMBERSHIP LENGTH SHOULD YOU PURCHASE?
Xbox Live membership pre-paid cards/codes are available in 3 month, 12 month or 24 month subscriptions. I typically buy the 12 month and I'll explain why in a minute.
The 3 months option is good if you're on a tight budget or if you're not sure you'll like Xbox Live. I typically avoid the 3 month option because it costs you much more in the long run. If you pay for 12 months of Xbox Live using the 3 month option at $24.99 you'll pay $99.96 for a year of Xbox Live. For 3 cents more you could have purchased a two year subscription card! (Currently $99.99 That's crazy!
I purchase the 12 month subscription because I know we'll want. . . no NEED . . . Xbox Live all year in our household. The 12 month card saves me money over a monthly Credit Card billed subscription or the 3 month options. In fact if you're patient, I know at least the 12 month memberships go on sale from time to time. I think I scored my first one on Amazon for $39.99 which is about $20 off the normal price.
If you've got extra cash burning a hole in your pocket you can also pony up the dough for a 24 month Xbox Live Gold membership and take advantage of the discount it offers. I'm a bit too cheap and try to hold our household to too much of a budget to justify buying the $99.99 24 month subscription card/code. It does save about $20 vs. buying two 12 month cards but the $19.99 it currently saves me isn't enough to justify the expense. If your'e lucky enough to find these Xbox Live Gold membership cards/codes on sale you can always buy and redeem multiples. You can add them at any time and Microsoft allows you to stack them. I believe you can redeem up to 3 years worth of Xbox Live Gold membership credits on your account at any one time.
Since many parents/grandparents/adults may be considering buying this as a gift they might have questions. The information below should be helpful in these cases. If you're not new to Xbox Live Gold, just skip the rest of this review!
WHAT THE HECK IS XBOX LIVE GOLD?:
To any parents, grandparents, adults and gamers that don't know what Xbox Live Gold is: it's basically an extra service that allows video game players to play with other players via the internet. Most of today's games are made to be enjoyed by playing them with and against other players online. The days where you sit on the couch and play with 1-2 other people are pretty much gone. The sad truth is to get the most of their video games, Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamers need Xbox Live Gold. Xbox Live also allows players to access other features like online video etc but the main focus and benefit is online multiplayer gaming.
A word of caution: Parents, adults, guardians. PLEASE monitor what your kids are doing. Just like you shouldn't turn your impressionable child loose on the internet without any supervision or guidance, you shouldn't turn them loose on Xbox Live. People can chat and interact with each other via Xbox Multiplayer games, messages and more. Many games allow players to create their own emblems, logos etc. It should be no surprise that many people (adults and children) can't behave themselves. Online interactions on Xbox Live Gold are largely out of the control of Xbox and the game developers. There are rules governing the actions of players online, but for the most part things are on the honor system. Things ARE moderated to a certain extent but for the most part any disciplinary action is reactionary and comes long after violations of the Xbox Live terms of service. For example, if they receive enough complaints, Microsoft/Xbox will take action against anyone who is acting inappropriately. Unfortunately this action is typically taken long after your child has been exposed to language or images you didn't want them to be exposed to. Just know if your child plays online multiplayer games they WILL eventually hear adult language and sometimes worse. If you aren't comfortable with this do NOT let them use Xbox Live Gold. You can supervise your child, change settings to reduce risks slightly, but in the end you can't control what other players say or do.