Finally realised that to trial Xbox LIVE Gold you need to create a new account – I never got a trial because I imported my old Xbox account.
Underwhelmed by the new Gold-only features: Facebook is alright – I like the photo browser, but doesn’t appear to be integrated; Twitter is an #epicfail without a browser for following links (my phone can do this, ferchristsakes!) and likewise doesn’t seem to integrate with anything else; and the Sky player stutters even on lowest quality whilst I can watch BBC iPlayer in HD without problems.
In all, anyone who upgrades to Gold for these features (which can’t even be trailed without) will be disappointed – Microsoft should stick to selling Gold accounts for multiplayer access, rather than convincing people to upgrade for gimmicks.
(Even better, PS3 multiplayer is free!)
If I were Microsoft I’d give people an hour of Gold/multiplayer membership a day, but require a payment to upgrade to permanent 24×7 multiplayer. This would let casual gamers get a feel for multiplayer (and so probably end up selling more Gold subscriptions) without removing the impetus from hard-core players to pay for the service. Simple!