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Sony has announced that all PlayStation 4 owners in North America will be able to play online for free this coming weekend. The promotion runs from Friday, March 20 at 12:01 AM until Sunday, March 22nd at 11:59 PM, Pacific Time. So if you bought the PlayStation 4 version of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for the single-player campaign but have always wondered what it would be like to be dragged off and devoured like a wounded gazelle by people who’ve spent hundreds of hours honing their skills and unlocking all the weapons online, this is your opportunity.

Online play in PlayStation 4 games is normally restricted to paying members of PlayStation Plus, which costs $49.99 a year if you pay for a full year in advance. (Or just a hair under $120 a year if for some reason you pay month by month.) Note that this promotion applies to online play only, and not to other PlayStation Plus benefits like free games or online discounts.

Sony faces a disadvantage that Microsoft doesn’t when trying to convince people to sign up for a paid online service, since online online play was (and still is) free on the PlayStation 3. This was one of the PS3’s potential selling points over its rival the Xbox 360. (And added yet another confusing layer of obnoxiousness to console fan boy arguments.) If your main console last generation was an a PlayStation 3, paying to pay online this generation isn’t simply a continuation of the natural way of things as it is for long-time Xbox fans. So trying to entice people this way makes sense.

This promotion comes right on the heels of the planned release of Battlefield Hardline on March 17th, if you want to give that a shot. Other games with online modes you can try this weekend include the aforementioned Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, its red-headed stepson Call of Duty: Ghosts, cooperative shoot’em up Helldivers, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed Unity, two-button fighting game Divekick, Japanese screaming simulator Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and many others. And Destiny, if you refuse to pay for online play but own that game anyway due to a well-meaning relative or a confused, drunken late-night Amazon buying spree.


John Markley

John Markley is a freelance writer and lifelong gamer from Illinois. When not busy reading, writing, playing games, or reminiscing about the time a series of "friendly fire" accidents while playing River City Ransom with his cousin escalated into an actual fistfight, he does Let's Play videos at /www.youtube.com/user/PointlessSideQuestLP/