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Sony preps free online multiplayer weekend for PS4 owners

Sony announced that PlayStation Network members will be able to experience the online multiplayer modes in all PlayStation 4 games free of charge this coming weekend, beginning Friday, December 11th, and extending through Sunday, December 13th.

Online play in PS4 games is normally exclusive to players enrolled in the PlayStation Plus service, but this requirement will be waived for the duration of Sony’s weekend-long promotion.

Related: PlayStation Plus monthly costs increase significantly in Europe

Initially launched as a subscription service that doles out free digital games on a monthly basis, PlayStation Plus membership is now a requirement for players who wish to access online multiplayer functionality in PlayStation 4 games. Previous generations of PlayStation hardware offered free online multiplayer access across all games.

Sony’s shift to a pay-for-play subscription model for online multiplayer puts it in competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners must subscribe to the Xbox Live Gold program in order to access online multiplayer modes in all games for Xbox platforms. Meanwhile Nintendo’s competing console, the Wii U, does not charge players a fee for online multiplayer.

Sony notes that the upcoming free weekend will allow players to test out the online multiplayer modes in EA’s recently released competitive shooter Star Wars Battlefront. Notable for its lack of single-player content, Star Wars Battlefront includes a broad selection of online multiplayer modes, requiring players to pay a subscription fee in order to access the bulk of its included features on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Select PlayStation 4 hardware bundles available at retail throughout the holiday season include free copies of Star Wars Battlefront, making this weekend’s free trial an ideal time for new console owners to try out the game’s online-only features.

Other notable PlayStation 4 games that require a PlayStation Plus subscription in order to access online multiplayer features include EA’s sports sim FIFA 16, Activision’s first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and the Grand Theft Auto Online mode in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V.

Sony’s free online multiplayer weekend kicks off on December 11th at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, and ends on December 13th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.