Microsoft wants you on Xbox LIVE for the weekend with, of course, a view toward forever, and it’s prepared to temporarily waive the cover fee to grab your attention.
Xbox LIVE Gold-tier membership usually costs $50 a year and provides access to features like online multiplayer, Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, and Netflix for starters. Xbox LIVE Silver members who pay nothing save the time it takes to register a free account are by contrast left to nibble on skeletal features like online gamer profiles and friends lists, but otherwise have to stand at the window looking in.
That changes this weekend for US Xbox 360 gamers with a Silver membership (again, totally free) and the ability to bring their Xbox 360s online with an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi adapter.
As noted this Tuesday by Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, all Xbox LIVE regions except Europe will have free access to Gold services from November 20th at 12:00PM ET / 9:00AM PT until November 23rd at the same time. Europe’s getting it too, of course, just a couple days later, and for a slightly longer time period–from November 25th to November 30th.
Visualize Master Chief (from Halo) with an olive-colored plasteel finger extended and a stern look on his…well, as stern-looking as a gold-tinged visor can be.
Microsoft runs these free weekends periodically, the last one occurring at the end of August and sponsored by T-Mobile. Paying members occasionally grumble about lack of reciprocity (compensation, other promotional items), and a few complain the free weekends briefly open the doors to younger, disruptive gamers, but on balance reactions tend to be positive.