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Microsoft brings E3 to the 360, free!

Microsoft brings E3 to the 360, free!

If you're like me and you've been slow to forgive Microsoft for putting its first free Xbox 360 Live weekend during daylight savings--it promised 72 hours, it delivered 71--the company is making up for it in a big way by providing an entire week of free service. When exactly? May 8 to May 14--otherwise known as E3 Week.

You'll be able to do more than just play Hardwood Backgammon against the Dutch this time around, though. Microsoft is planning to saturate its Marketplace service with all sorts of media pertinent to the Electronic Entertainment Expo. There will be more than 60 downloadable content items added during the week, including playable game demos and trailers for Crackdown, Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Moto GP '06, Sonic the Hedgehog, Splinter Cell Double Agent, Test Drive Unlimited, and Viva Pinata. Microsoft has yet to distinguish which games will have demos and which will get the celluloid treatment other than Lost Planet, which will be playable. There will also be celebrity gaming sessions, behind-the-scenes looks at companies preparing for the show (think they'll highlight Nintendo or Sony?), E3-themed Gamerpics and Dashboard themes, and--you may want to sit down for this one--the release of Uno on Xbox Live Arcade! If you can find the time between dropping Wild Draw Fours on noobs, keep it tuned to CNET for our comprehensive coverage of the E3 show next week.