If you consider yourself to be a gaming enthusiast, then it’s likely that you own (or at least heard of) Microsoft’s offering to the console race: the Xbox. Currently, the Xbox One X and Xbox One S are some of the most powerful machines in the console gaming market. 4K UHD graphics, 8-core processors, 8-12GB of RAM are just some of the main selling points of Microsoft’s flagship consoles. To get the most out of your gaming experience, you will need an Xbox Live account.
Whether you’re a new gamer or a first-time Xbox owner, setting up your Xbox Live account is a must. We’ll walk you through all the things you need to know about your Live account so you can settle in nicely with your new gaming ecosystem.
What is the Xbox Live Service?
Xbox Live is Microsoft’s very own online service for the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The service is mainly geared towards multiplayer gaming and content distribution. So if you want to play with other people or access other social features, you will need an Xbox Live account. However, it’s not all about the games because an account will let you access other features like video and music streaming, social media, apps and more. You can just make one Microsoft Account and it will work with your Xbox as well.
Live Membership has two levels: Free and Gold.
- Free: Used to be called Silver, the free membership will give you access to the basic features. With a free account, you can create a profile and Gamertag (your in-game name), create a friend list, download games and demos from Xbox Live Marketplace, send and receive messages from other users, preview games, and more. Take note that you can’t play online with other people using a free account.
- Gold: This is the paid version of an Xbox Live account and it features some great perks. The main reason to get a Gold account is to access multiplayer so you can play with other people online. An Xbox Live Gold account also makes you eligible to receive free games every month. There are also game discounts that are only exclusive to Gold members. Xbox Live Gold membership starts at $9.99 / month to $59.99 / year.
Obviously, Gold is more catered towards hardcore gamers and multiplayer fans. If you plan on only playing single-player games or local multiplayer (via split screen), then you don’t need a Gold account.
How to Secure Your Xbox Live Account
With over 50 million active users, there is no denying the popularity of Microsoft’s online service. However, as with many popular services, Xbox Live is a prime target for hackers and scammers. Since many people add their credit cards and other payment information to their account, a compromised account means more than just losing the account and games. Here are some ways to secure your Live account:
Always Keep the Console Updated
Microsoft regularly rolls out console updates not just to address performance issues and bugs, but to patch security vulnerabilities. Hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities which can give them access to sensitive information. So it is always best to keep your console updated by downloading updates as soon as they’re available.
Use Different Passwords for Every Online Account
This is not just a good tip for Xbox accounts but for web security in general. It might be tempting to use a master password for all your online accounts because it’s convenient, but it’s a good way to get you thoroughly hacked. If you can’t be bothered to remember too many passwords, download a free application like LastPass or KeePass to generate secure passwords and manage them. This way, if you do get compromised, you are not risking important accounts like your email, bank account, Paypal, etc.
Don’t Share Your Email Address or Live ID
If a stranger online asks for your email address or Live ID, then it’s time to run the other way. In most cases, hackers will only need an email or Live ID to brute force their way into hacking an account. Beware of cases where a hacker or scammer will pose as a Microsoft employee and ask for sensitive information. Microsoft will never ask for your login credentials or email.
Add Two-Step Verification
Two-step verification is one of the best ways to secure your account as it adds another layer of security. Instead of simply using your ID or email, and password to access the account, a third factor will be required. Once logged in, you will be asked to provide a time-based password which is usually sent to your smartphone.
Now You’re Ready to Play
To get the most out of your Xbox gaming experience, signing up for an Xbox Live account is an essential step. Remember that Xbox Live is more than just a way to play video games, it’s a social space as well. Always practice internet safety precautions when using your account. Have fun!
If you are looking for more ways to protect yourself online, check out OurGeeks.com. From tips on how to pay bills online to listicles about the best web apps, it’s a great resource for brushing up your knowledge about popular online services.