I bought an Xbox 360 a year ago. I got it only for playing single-player games with no interest in playing online. However, because the Xbox 360 come with a free one-month trial of Xbox Live Gold, I decided to try it. After playing it for the free month I decided to buy a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold, and now most of my game playing is online. Xbox Live comes in two levels, silver and gold. Silver is free all the time and lets download demos, and buy downloadable games and videos. Gold is required if you want to play online against other people, it also gives you all the benefits of Silver, plus many demos are released earlier to Gold members. Xbox Live Gold costs $50 a year, but can often be found on sale, I got mine for $30 at Best Buy.
One of the things that makes Xbox Live so much fun is that there is huge online community, and you can find an online match for most games at any time. Some of the older games don’t always have matches going, but in the evenings and weekends you can usually find a match. With newer game, there are always matches available. Xbox Live also lets you have up to 100 friends, whom you can invite to play with you. But if you don’t have any Xbox friends you will still be matched up with other players online. Another thing I’ve discovered about Xbox Live is that you get a lot more play time out of a game. Many games have a fairly short single player mode, but with online matches you can play any game indefinitely. For example, with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the single player is about eight hours, but with Xbox Live, I have played online for over 50 hours now. Online play is never the same thing, since you are almost always playing with different people. Of course there are some downsides with Xbox Live. The biggest one is what people say while playing. There seem to be a good number of young teenagers who curse and make racists comments while playing games. Others will set their mic next to a radio making everyone playing listen to their music. In some games communicating with others on your team is very important, and in others its not needed at all. In the games where it is needed, often these annoying people in the match will be kicked out by the person who created the match. In games where communication isn’t important you can mute any player through the Xbox Live menu. Also, if necessary, you can file a complaint with Microsoft for something that is said.
You can check out jasabola88 for a more detailed review of Xbox live. You can learn about its pros and cons there. Before you buy Xbox it is really important that you know what features you will be getting and what you missing out on.