First Xbox Live Free Weekend AnnouncedMicrosoft has now officially announced the first Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend, which is sponsored by Verizon, and will be held from March 31 through April 2, confirming previous reports of the event. The company had previously confirmed that occasional free weekends of online play, usually available only to paying Gold members, would be given to the free-membership Silver subscribers for promotional and sponsorship-related reasons, and extra competitions including Xbox Live Arcade leader board tournaments and Xbox Live Play and Win contests are planned for the weekend. In addition, the companies are hosting a Verizon One Million Microsoft Points giveaway, which offers gamers the chance to win prizes from a total of 1 million Xbox Live Microsoft Points to spend on Xbox Live Arcade titles and other items online. Silver Xbox Live membership, free to all Xbox 360 owners with a broadband connection, allows users to browse the Xbox Live Marketplace and have their accomplishments and high scores recorded through virtual Gamercards. Only the Gold membership, available for a monthly subscription fee, lets users play online matches in supporting games. Jerri DeVard, senior vice president of national marketing and brand management for Verizon, commented: "We think that providing gamers with exposure to this amazing service combination will change the way they view their Xbox 360 and gaming in general. Verizon is proud to deliver the first-ever Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend."