$99 Xbox Live Gold Family plan available this November

With Kinect, Microsoft is trying to get the whole family playing games. Now it hopes to get the whole family paying for Xbox Live as well, through a discounted "Family" offer. The Xbox Live Gold Family plan, available this November, offers a year of Xbox Live Gold membership to four different family members for a total cost of $99.99, half the normal cost of four individual memberships.

It also includes new features, including a "Family Center" menu for managing the family account and content restriction settings, activity reports on Xbox.com, the ability for the "primary account member" to buy and distribute points to other members, and "exclusive family content and discounts."

Microsoft is further expanding its family gaming functionality this November with new Family Settings, also due in November. "Family Programming" expands the parental controls to allow the removal of all video and game content of a certain rating level from the Dashboard for younger users, variable by account and password-protected. Title exceptions allow parents to permit certain games rated above the account's maximum level -- for those who can't bear to deny their kids access to Deadly Premonition.
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NEW XBOX LIVE GOLD FAMILY SUBSCRIPTION PLAN DELIVERS MORE VALUE AND FAMILY FUN

Xbox 360 makes family time, quality time. Only Xbox LIVE delivers a world of games, movies, social entertainment and starting this November, live sports, allowing you to share them with the people you care about, around the world.

This November, the new Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack will offer up to four individual Xbox LIVE Gold memberships for only US$99.99 – the price of two regular Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions. Now as you prepare for the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, which makes YOU the controller, consider giving your family premium Gold experience and access to the biggest names in entertainment.

Perfect for families, the Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack will also offer access to additional conveniences and services including the new Family Center, accessible on the Xbox dashboard and Xbox.com for easier family management, access to activity monitoring reports, and the ability to purchase and give Microsoft Points to other Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack members.

An Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack includes:
-- Up to four individual Xbox LIVE Gold memberships for the price of two – (US) $99.99. -- Family Center – a single, easy to use, destination for Family Settings and account management, accessible on the Xbox dashboard and on Xbox.com.
-- The primary account member has the ability to purchase and dispense Microsoft Points to other Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack members.
-- Activity monitoring reports viewable on Xbox.com to help encourage discussions about safer more balanced gaming and entertainment habits.
-- Simplified billing that applies all purchase charges to the primary account holder's billing account and the ability to authorize purchases, helping to manage the family's entertainment budget.
-- Exclusive family content and discounts.

The industry-leading, built-in Xbox 360 Family Settings are also being taken to the next level this November. It's Microsoft's goal to provide parents and caregivers with tools and resources to manage their children's gaming and entertainment experiences, and these features are available to all Xbox LIVE members:
-- Family Programming that removes all mature games, movies, and content from the dashboard, based on ESRB, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings and the TV Parental Guidelines system . Family Programming is password protected, and easy to turn on and off for each member. (Compatible with international ratings systems.)
-- Title exceptions – the ability to allow your family members to play specific games above the console's designated ESRB rating if you deem appropriate. (Compatible with international ratings systems.)
-- Intelligent default settings for child, teen, and adult profiles. Xbox will automatically assign default privacy and activity settings for each member that can later be individually customized.
-- Family Settings are displayed prominently in the MyXbox channel. Current tools include the Family Timer, which allows you to control the amount of time - either daily or weekly - your children may use the console.

Whether you want to play your favorite games, stream movies and music from Zune, or watch the latest sporting event together via ESPN on Xbox LIVE1, Xbox 360 brings the best family-friendly entertainment straight to your living room.

1 ESPN on Xbox available for Xbox LIVE Gold members that are ESPN viewers in supported markets. ESPN on Xbox LIVE, providing great content from ESPN3.com and ESPN.com, is only available to Xbox LIVE Gold members. For access to ESPN3.com content, Gold members must receive theirinternet connection from an affiliated broadband provider. See ESPN3.com for details and providers.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.