If you have an Xbox 360 and you want to play online (and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?) then you may want to consider purchasing the Microsoft Xbox Live Starter Kit as it is actually quite a deal.
Let’s take a look at what is included in the 12 Month Xbox Live Gold Membership:

  • 400 Bonus Microsoft Points
  • Xbox Chat Pad
  • Xbox Live Wired Headset

12 months of Xbox Live Gold membership actually gives you quite a bit in and of itself. There are several features that you can get with Xbox Live Gold that you cannot get with standard Xbox Live, the most significant being online multiplayer gaming. Additionally, a Gold membership over a free Xbox Live account will get you:

  1. Party Chat
  2. Video Kinect
  3. Zune Music (with the purchase of a Zune Pass)
  4. Avatar Kinect
  5. Cloud Storage
  6. Access to Facebook, Skype, and Twitter
  7. YouTube Video Streaming
  8. Netflix Streaming (Netflix account required).  Multiple other video streaming options such as Vudu, Vevo, and Hulu Plus

The included headset is great if you have friends come over who like to play online multiplayer games with you and want to get in on chatting. Speaking of chatting, the included Chat Pad is great for when you need to type something in. It attaches directly to your controller and is about the size of a full QWERTY keyboard on a cell phone. It is really a time saver in comparison to the on-screen keyboard and is easy to use.

While not a lot, the 400 bonus Microsoft points are nice for buying additional content, Xbox Live Arcade games, and anything else in the Xbox Live Marketplace. Although, you won’t find much you can buy for 400 points, it is that much less points you will have to purchase later when you want to buy something, so it is a nice bonus.

As previously stated, this is a good value. If you don’t believe that, take a look at the price breakdown. The Microsoft Xbox Live 12 Month Gold Starter Kit costs $74.99. 12 months of Xbox Live Gold alone costs $59.99. 400 Microsoft Points costs $5. The headset is valued at $19.99 and the Chat Pad is $29.99. So, Purchased individually, everything in this kit would cost you over $100!

The only reason I could see in not purchasing this kit would be if either you didn’t want the Chat Pad and headset, or you already have both. Then you wouldn’t need them, and there would be no need to spend what would equate to $10 more than purchasing the Gold membership and Microsoft points. Even then though, why not spend the extra $10 to have a backup when you would spend $50 buying them individually?

The bottom line is that this is an exceptional value and if you are going to be playing your Xbox 360 online, then the Microsoft Xbox Live 12 Month Gold Starter Kit is the smart way to go.