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After my original article regarding why Skype should be free on the Xbox One, I got to thinking about the other features. I wondered exactly how many features were locked behind Xbox Live Gold. After some research, I discovered that the Xbox360 & Xbox One collectively have 81 features that you will not be able to use without an Xbox Live Gold Subscription. Many of these features cost Microsoft nothing to operate, since many of them either run on the Xbox platform itself and/or the Xbox connects to a third party server and/or service. It doesn’t make sense why Microsoft insists to keep these features behind a pay wall. Online gaming for example, when you play Gears of War 3, your Xbox360 connects to EPIC’s servers (and through there it would connect to another Xbox360 hosting the match). Why are you paying Microsoft for that? Even with Microsoft’s own games, the Gold subscription doesn’t offer any kind of perks for online gaming. The only one being…that you’re actually allowed to game online. Did Microsoft invest any of that Gold Subscription money to dedicated servers on the Xbox360? Nope. How many Halo games on Xbox360 had dedicated servers? I think you see my point.

And what about those other features, like Netflix, Amazon Instant video, and others that have nothing to do with Microsoft? Why should you have to pay Microsoft just so that your Xbox console can connect to Netflix’s servers? I just feel that Microsoft’s main goal with their platforms has shifted to selling Xbox Live Gold features, rather than the consoles themselves. Just think, how much functionality would you get out of the Xbox360 without Gold? And on the Xbox One, it’s even worse! Without Gold on the Xbox One, you pretty much have a useless piece of hardware. Why should the platform be so reliant on a yearly subscription in order to keep some form of basic functionality? It’s simple, that’s how Microsoft intended it to be. The more features they throw behind Xbox Live Gold, the more insurance they have that people will pay it. Below you’ll see a list I’ve compiled of Xbox Live Gold features on Xbox360 and Xbox One:

  1. Online Multiplayer
  2. Party Chat
  3. Video Chat
  4. Matchmaking
  5. SkyDrive/ Unlimited Cloud Storage
  6. Skype
  7. SmartMatch (improved version of matchmaking)
  8. Game DVR – You have to pay Microsoft, so you can record footage of your games & store it on the hard drive?
  9. One Guide
  10. Games With Gold – This is valid until Xbox One releases.
  11. Instant Video
  12. AOL On
  13. AT&T Uverse
  14. Avatar Kinect
  15. BLIP.TV
  16. C|Net
  17. CinemaNOW
  18. Comedy Central: Stand-Up
  19. Crackle
  20. Crunchyroll
  21. Dailymotion
  22. Disney
  23. EPIX
  24. ESPN
  25. Facebook
  26. Flixter
  27. Fox Broadcast
  28. Game Trailers
  29. Gamespot TV
  30. HBO GO
  31. Hulu Plus
  32. IGN
  33. iHeartRadio
  34. Internet Explorer
  35. Karaoke
  37. Machinima
  38. Manga Entertainment
  39. MAXIM
  41. MSN with MSNBC
  42. MTV
  43. Mustang Customizer
  44. Muzu.TV
  45. NBA Game Time
  46. NBC News
  47. Neon Alley
  49. NFL
  50. NHL Game Center
  51. Nick
  52. OneBeat
  53. Paramount Movies
  54. Pizza Hut – Yup, you need a Gold Subscription to order pizza.
  55. PopcornFlix
  56. Redbox Instant by Verizon
  57. Revision3
  58. Rhapsody
  59. SkyGO
  60. Slacker Radio
  61. SnagFilms
  62. Sony Pictures
  63. Sports Picks
  64. SyFy
  65. Telemundo
  66. TMZ
  67. Toys “R” Us
  68. Twitch.TV
  69. Twitter
  70. UFC On Xbox Live – You need a Gold subscription…to use ***Pay per View*** for UFC? You have to pay…to pay.
  71. Uvideos
  72. Verizon FIOS TV
  73. Vevo
  74. Vimeo
  75. Vudu
  76. WSJ Live
  77. WWE
  78. Xbox Music – Requires Xbox Music Pass, which is $100 a year, but also requires Gold to use on Xbox360? What?
  79. Xbox Tournaments
  80. Xfinity
  81. Youtube

That’s quite a lot of features that you will have no access to, unless you pay for Xbox Live Gold. And lets not forget that the PS4 & other platforms have the very same features for free! I don’t think its fair for Microsoft to advertise Xbox One’s new features (Game DVR, Skype, and etc), as if they’re ready and waiting on the device; when in fact they’re Xbox Live Gold features. That’s why we saw a ton of gaming websites express their disdain after finally discovering that the features everyone was talking about (Game DVR, Skype, OneGuide, etc), were actually behind Xbox Live Gold. The only impression I get from seeing such a huge list of paywall features, is that the Xbox platform was designed to sell a yearly subscription. For consumers, it doesn’t add value; but, from a business standpoint, it is genius.

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