To entice people to upgrade to Xbox Live Gold and to show people how much fun online gaming can be, Microsoft has launched a program called "Friendship is Free". According to Microsoft's Major Nelson:
"This month, Xbox Live kicks off the Friendship is Free program. Over the course of this month, multiplayer will be available for all Xbox Live members for eight Xbox Live Arcade games. The Xbox Live Arcade team will open up the multiplayer functionality for A Kingdom for Keflings, Aegis Wing, Bomberman Live, Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, UNO, Small Arms and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix."
Do note that only the online play is free; you still have to purchase the games.
It's an interesting tactic by Microsoft and I'm curious to see if it'll create many new gold members. However, I can't get past the name -- it sounds like Microsoft is kicking off a hippie movement. Now where's the Sony Defense Force? I'm waiting for its members to say how you can play online for free on the PlayStation 3 and that this is a totally lame move by Microsoft. Flame on!
(For the record, I love that Sony's service is free and also feel that Xbox Live Gold is worth paying for.)