You know what's a pain? When every account on your Xbox doesn't have Live Gold access, so casual multiplayer becomes this awkward guest of a Live member situation. Today, Microsoft has announced a new, $US100/year plan for four people. Updated.
That effectively lowers the $US40ish yearly cost of Xbox Live Gold to $US25, and it comes with a new Family Center that allows the main account holder to monitor play activities of the four accounts as well as disperse Microsoft Points to various accounts. The new Xbox Live Gold Family Pack will be available this November.
But what isn't clear is whether you can split this family plan across multiple consoles... something we're doubting is possible. [Gamescore Blog]
Update: We just heard from Microsoft that you could split these four accounts across consoles, so long as they were all in the same country. To do so, first the second, third and fourth accounts need to be added to the same console as the primary account holder. After they are activated onto the Family Pack, they can recover that account onto a different console.
Problem with sharing these among friends instead of just family members is that the primary account holder is still responsible for purchases, meaning, people who add points on the other three accounts will just bill the primary account holder. Which would be great, if you weren't the guy paying for your three chumps' DLCs.