Xbox Live is Microsoft’s digital media delivery and online gaming service. It was first made available in 2002 to the Xbox System. In 2005 with the launch of Xbox 360 an updated version of Xbox Live was made available. It is the only online gaming service for consoles that charges a fee for playing multiplayer games.
In 2007 Microsoft extended the Xbox Live service on the Windows Platform by the name of ‘Games for Windows – Live’.
This extension made most of the aspects of the service available on the Windows computers. Microsoft is planning to further extend the service to other platforms like handhelds and mobile phones. This extension is called the Live anywhere initiative.
Xbox Live service comes in two variants – the free variant is called the Xbox Live free and the paid subscription based service is called the Xbox Live Gold. The online gaming feature is restricted to the paid service only. Xbox Live is a competitor to Sony’s PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s Nintendo Network.