Xbox Live Gold Is Free This Weekend, but Only for Xbox 360 Owners

And only for U.S. and Canadian Xbox 360 owners, at that.

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It seems a bit late in the game to be luring Xbox 360 owners into buying a $60-a-year Xbox Live Gold subscription. Of the total 48 million Xbox Live subscribers, who’s holding out that hasn’t subscribed to the all-but-essential service already?

But if you qualify, want to give Xbox 360 multiplayer and matchmaking a shake, and don’t have another set-top you’re using for channel-streaming, Microsoft’s unchaining Xbox Live Gold’s gates for three days, starting tomorrow, February 14, at 12:01 a.m. PT.

The kicker: as with previous Xbox Live Gold offers, this one doesn’t extend to Xbox One owners, and it’s limited to U.S. and Canadian Xbox 360 users only.

Microsoft’s Larry Hryb says the service will be free through Sunday, February 16, at 11:59 p.m. PT, and that all Xbox Live apps and online gaming services as well as Video Kinect are included (with an asterisked caveat that certain apps may require “additional subscriptions”).

Why February 14? “Happy Valentine’s Weekend, sweetheart, let’s play video games?” Perhaps. Alas, not for the Titanfall beta, which kicks off tomorrow for PC and Xbox One users only (it doesn’t sound like there’ll be an Xbox 360 beta before the game launches), and which I’m unashamed to admit I’ll be playing (on Xbox One) for as much of the weekend as Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze allows.