Free Xbox Live weekend official

Verizon sponsors three days of complimentary online Xbox 360 play, giveaway of a million Marketplace points.

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The free Xbox Live Gold Weekend is on again, officially this time. Microsoft today announced that the first free Xbox Live Gold weekend will run from Friday, March 31, through Sunday, April 2. The event will be sponsored by telecom company Verizon.

In addition to free online play against 360 gamers worldwide, players will be able to participate in "Play and Win" contests and Xbox Live Arcade leaderboard tournaments, as well as win Xbox Live Marketplace points, as part of the Verizon One Million Microsoft Points giveaway. The points will be given away--500 per gamer (the equivalent of $6.25)--while supplies last, but Verizon won't reveal what 360 owners need to do to secure them until March 30.

The full calendar of live events is online now and lists a pair of Project Gotham Racing 3 "Play and Win" contests, where gamers can earn PGR3 faceplates; a Geometry Wars challenge, where players will get a chance at winning prizes; and a number of chances to compete against the Xbox Team in games ranging from Fight Night Round 3 to Marble Blast Ultra to College Hoops 2K6. Gamers will also get a chance to challenge Ubisoft's Frag Dolls in games of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter that Friday night.

This won't be Verizon's only participation in Xbox Live. The company has also announced that it is sponsoring a PGR3 tournament for racers in North America, Europe, and Asia that will kick off April 10, with the finalists from each region being flown to Italy to tour Lamborghini's headquarters.

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