All Xbox accounts can access Xbox Live for free with the Silver account. The Silver level is the basic account that is the automatic tier for any gamertag created on the Xbox. This account is available on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One for free.
The basic Silver account gives users access to nearly 200 applications on Xbox Live, including Netflix, Twitch and ESPN. Users also have access to the marketplace and some sales with this account. The Silver account provides access to avatar customization, basic text messaging and some other non-premium features, such as access to the Xbox Live Arcade.
Xbox Live Gold is the premier paid tier and, as of 2015, requires a monthly or yearly subscription. Many of the features of Silver used to be locked behind the Gold paywall, but were added to Silver during an update in 2014. The paid account opens up numerous features, including online multiplayer for games, exclusive deals for Gold members, free game downloads and party chat that allows players to use voice chat while gaming.
As of 2015, the price for Gold was $9.99 per month, $24.99 per quarter or $59.99 per year; it is available on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. Users with both consoles only need one account.