Free Xbox Live Gold weekend coming

Perks of paid membership granted to all Xbox 360 owners in April; online gaming free for 72-hour trial period.

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On April 1, don't be surprised to see some online gamers running into walls in multiplayer deathmatches in Perfect Dark Zero, driving the wrong way in Project Gotham Racing 3, or asking gamers what a nickel defense is in Madden NFL 06. The massive influx of "noobs" that will be playing online multiplayer Xbox 360 games on April 1 isn't part of some elaborate April Fools' Day prank. Rather, Microsoft is giving everyone a shot at getting shot (or lapped or scored on) online when it opens up the Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend.

Beginning April 1, Xbox 360 owners with Xbox Live Silver subscriptions will be treated to 72 hours of life as an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, according to Xbox.com's calendar of events. Microsoft has not revealed any further details about the weekend.

Currently, gamers with a free Silver subscription have access to only some online features, such as the ability to download games, trailers, and demos from the Xbox Live Marketplace. The Gold membership, which costs $7.99 per month or $49.99 for a year, includes all the benefits of a Silver membership, plus the ability to play games online.

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