Microsoft offering free Xbox Live Gold this weekend

Microsoft has announced that Xbox owners will be able to access the subscription-based Xbox Live Gold service for free this coming weekend.

The company confirmed that the offer will begin at 12:00 GMT 8 March and continue till 23:59 GMT 10 March, during which time a number of multiplayer events will take place. Rockstar Friday, which will run from 12:00 to 17:00 GMT on 8 March, will let fans play against developers at titles including GTA 4, Red Dead Redemption and Midnight Club LA.

"Take your games online all weekend and take part in challenges, get double XP, play the developers and so much more," the company wrote on the Xbox website. Some of the other popular titles included in the offer include Borderlands 2, Halo 4, Fifa 13, Forza Horizon, Assassins Creed III and more.

Sponsored by Bioshock Infinite, this new offer from the Redmond, Washington-based giant is a welcome effort to give offline gamers a sneak peek into the Xbox Live Gold service, which starts from £3.33 per month.

Users will also be able to test out such Xbox Live Gold bonuses as Netflix, Sky's TV apps and the new Xbox Smartglass for tablets and smartphones, which allows second screen gaming and viewing.