GAMES CONSOLE MAKER Microsoft is giving gamers that usually play offline a taste of the golden Xbox Live lifestyle.
The firm is letting people have access to the benefits of an Xbox Live Gold account. These are necessary if you want to play games online and in their multiplayer formats.
Usually access to this world of American teenagers making headset delivered assumptions about your mother costs £3.33 a month. This weekend, starting on Friday 8 March and ending on Sunday 10 March, it's going to be a free society where all are treated as economic equals. If not, perhaps, level of play equals.
The freebie weekend is sponsored by Bioshock Infinite, the city in the sky sequel game lined up by Take-Two Interactive Software and Irrational Games for a 26 March release date.
It will be too early for any Bioshock Infinite shenanigans, but some other well established games will be reaching out to their fans in multiplayer matches.
Rockstar Friday, for example, will let fans of that house's games - and they include GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption and Midnight Club LA - take on the developers. Working people in the UK should start looking sad now. Rockstar Friday runs from 12:00 to 17:00 GMT.
It's not only rockstars that get to party, so if you have ever played Far Cry 3, Forza or Halo 4 and wondered how that multiplayer experience goes, then this is also your weekend. Cancel all plans and buy some energy drinks.
The Xbox Live Gold experience is not just about games, and users will also get to peek behind the curtain of things like the Sky television apps and Netflix, and have a go at the tablet and phone based Xbox Smartglass.
Smartglass is a software app that turns your tablet, iPhone or whatever into a second games controller and second screen for Xbox gaming. Why you have to be an active Xbox Live subscriber to use it, we don't know.
Existing Xbox Live Gold Members aren't just going to benefit from playing against opponents unused to the pace and language of online gaming, they will get rewards in other ways too.
Play Halo 4 for an hour and you will get a free avatar, put some time into Borderlands 2 and pick up an exclusive Gold Key, or load up on guns and kill zombies in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. µ
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