Free Xbox LIVE Gold This Weekend

According to the "Xbox Live's Major Nelson" blog, Microsoft is kicking off a few free Xbox LIVE Weekends so that Silver members can try out all the gaming system's features, and see what Gold membership is like. Larry Hryb, aka "Major Nelson," is the Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live.

During the free LIVE Weekends, which come about every so often -- the last was in August -- all Xbox LIVE Silver members can use features including online multiplayer, Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, Netflix, Sky Player and Halo Waypoint.

For all Xbox LIVE regions except those in Europe, Xbox LIVE Silver members will have free access from noon, Friday until noon, Nov. 23. European gamers will also get a free trial, but theirs runs a bit longer, from Nov. 25 through Nov. 30.

Normally, Xbox LIVE Gold-tier membership costs $50 a year. It provides features such as Last.FM, HD video (which syncs with Microsoft's MP3 player, Zune) online multiplayer and Netflix as well as new social networking offerings such as Facebook and Twitter. Silver membership is free, but it offers fewer goodies, such as online gamer profiles and friends' lists. Clearly the idea is to see how the other half lives -- then pony up and join them.

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