Microsoft said Tuesday that it will unlock its Xbox Live Gold service this weekend for most regions of the world, hoping gamers will get hooked again.
SpecifIcally, the service will be available for free from Oct. 4 through 6, Microsoft said in a blog post. Normally, Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 per month or $59.99 annually.
While the offer isn't available to the entire world, most of them are. The available regions include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
If you live in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, don't worry: the free Xbox Live Gold offer will be made available between Oct. 11 and Oct. 14, and Japanese gamers will receive the offer on Nov. 7 through Nov. 10.
While Microsoft didn't specifically call out the offer as one for existing members, that's the implication. Microsoft also offers a free 30-day trial option for new Xbox 360 purchasers. That option is only available to new members, however, and can't be associated with an existing gamertag. The free weekend, however, can be.
The first one's free
So what does an Xbox Live Gold subscription get you? Free multiplayer, for one. Users can also buy and rent movies and other entertainment options, including live NFL games on the upcoming Xbox One. And that's primarily what the Xbox Live Gold free weekend seems to be aimed at: enticing Xbox 360 gamers to jump onto the new console.
On the One, Xbox Live Gold services will expand to include OneGuide, a customized view of what's on TV, as well as what's trending; GameDVR, a way to record clips of gameplay to share with friends; Skype; and SmartMatch, an improved way of matching gamers to others at or about their skill level.
Microsoft made its announcement on the same day as the unrelated launch of GTA Online, which failed to well, launch. On the other hand, Microsoft has a pretty good track record of keeping its services up and running--with some exceptions, of course.