As both Sony and Nintendo further develop their free online gaming networks, Microsoft is further limiting features of non-paying Xbox Live members.
"If you have a Silver account, you won't have access to free content on the the Marketplace (like demos) when they are first posted," said Microsoft's Major Nelson when addressing changes stemming from this week's Fall Update. "That content will be available to Gold level exclusively for one week, after which Silver members will have access to the free content.
"This is not done to annoy our Silver members," adds Nelson, "limited time exclusive access to content is just one of the many benefits of having a Gold Xbox Live account."
In addition to timely free content, Xbox Live Gold members can play others online for a fee of US$50-96 per year depending on payment type.
Both the PlayStation Network and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection offer online multiplayer at no additional cost, though with fewer supported games and less options when compared to the more established Xbox Live.