BioWare has sidestepped potential backlash from Xbox 360 Mass Effect fans with the announcement that it will augment the February 14 demo with a trial Xbox Live Gold subscription. While this doesn't mean much to existing Gold members, it will allow Silver subscribers an opportunity to try the sequel's multiplayer mode for free while basking in the full extent of Microsoft's online services.
"In celebration of ME3, Xbox is pleased to provide fans access to ME3 demo multiplayer for the time leading to launch,” said Microsoft in a statement in BioWare's forums. “Xbox LIVE Gold gives you exclusive benefits including multiplayer gaming, member-only deals & previews, and access to entertainment with Netflix, ESPN, Hulu Plus and more."
As stated, the temporary upgrade could potentially last until the March 6 North American release date (March 9 in the UK). That's still a few weeks of free multiplayer plus all the extra content that comes with a Gold subscription. As further incentive to download the Mass Effect 3 demo, players will unlock special DLC for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
The demo will contain two single-player missions and a multiplayer component featuring two maps. The latter will be exclusive to Battlefield 3 Online Pass owners for three days, but open on February 17 for everyone else. Read the full details on BioWare's demo FAQ.