E3 06: Free week to accompany E3 Xbox Live push

Microsoft to offer demos and new content during show; free Xbox Live Gold all week long.

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The online experience has been a big emphasis of Microsoft's Xbox 360 promotional effort, and the publisher is looking to push it even harder heading into this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. In a recently posted interview with Microsoft's Peter Moore (the company's corporate vice president for both the interactive entertainment business and the entertainment and devices division, for those keeping track), Xbox.com confirms what many have expected. Namely, that Microsoft is going to use the Xbox Live Marketplace to bring users at home closer to the E3 experience.

"E3 will be a real test for Xbox Live because everyone will be tuned into their Xbox consoles and continually downloading new content," according to the Xbox.com article. "Xbox Live members should be able to play many of the demos that even the celebrities will be testing out at E3."

The E3 push doesn't end there, however. Verizon is once again sponsoring free Xbox Live Gold for all 360 users. But instead of sponsoring a few day's worth of complimentary online play, the company is ponying up to give gamers a full week of free play. The E3 2006 Free Xbox Live Gold Week kicks off May 8 and runs through May 14. Verizon is promising a number of events and exclusive content for the week, including a "Backstage Pass to E3 2006" and a giveaway of a million Xbox Live Marketplace points.

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