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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console is the most popular on the market by quite a distance now, which is rather surprising, given how the full experience with Xbox LIVE Gold Membership relies on continual payments from consumers. Sony’s PlayStation Network, for example, is absolutely free of charge, rendering the 360′s continued dominance as all the more commendable.

The Redmond-based outfit has upped the ante in its mission to get as many people using Xbox 360s (and subsequently, Xbox LIVE Gold) as possible, and the subsidized console offering, which charges $99 up front and a further $15 a month for two years, is at the forefront of this push.

Although Xbox LIVE isn’t particularly expensive if you’re a regular gamer, it’s something of an inconvenience to have to continue renewing membership to the tune of around $60 a time, and as such, many of you will currently be running the free, Silver membership until you get around to reinstating the full-fledged Gold Service. If you’re one of those people, or if you simply wish to test out Xbox LIVE Gold to assess whether it’s worth your hard-earned dollars, you may want to check out Xbox LIVE’s “Summer of Sports” event.

In a nutshell, Summer of Sports allows Silver Xbox LIVE account holders to enjoy the bells and whistles associated with Gold membership – the obvious one being online multiplayer. It’s only applicable to those residing in the United States, and as well as multiplayer and Netflix streaming, you can also enjoy free access to the MLB.TV app.

Xbox LIVE MLBTV

With consumers willing to pay for multiplayer on the Xbox 360, it doesn’t seem as though the software maker will be making it free anytime soon. In order for this to happen, Sony will need to vastly improve its network for PlayStation users, and that’s unlikely to occur until the next generation consoles arrive.

If you’re looking for some online multiplayer action but don’t feel like paying through the nose (or, indeed, purchasing a PlayStation 3), then fire up your 360 right now and enjoy all the perks of Gold for the weekend only. The free access will only last up until 9AM PDT on Monday, so make sure you don’t delay.

(via Xbox)

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