You don't need me to tell you that Mass Effect 3 is kind of a big deal. BioWare's sci-fi RPG series has a huge swath of the gaming world hooked and ready to settle in for the final chapter of Commander Shepard's tale on March 6. In a first for the series, the game will include a cooperative multiplayer component, separate from the campaign. The multiplayer will be showcased in a February 14 demo, though like all other things involving online play on Xbox Live, you'll need to be a Gold subscriber to use it.
Take heart, Silvers! All is not lost for you! In an eminently intelligent business move that will likely buy at least a few new Gold subscriptions, Microsoft has confirmed to BioWare that the demo will temporarily bump up non-paying Xbox Live subscribers to premium status.
It's a "limited time" offer, with a statement from Microsoft in BioWare's official forums suggesting that the complimentary Gold access will be active "for the time leading to launch." It's not clear if that refers JUST to the multiplayer component of the ME3 demo or to all XBL Gold features.
It's also not clear exactly WHEN Silver subscribers will be able to access the demo, since demos arrives a week later for non-Gold members. We've reached out to Microsoft seeking answers and will hopefully have more details to share later today.