Xbox Live partnering with Extra Life for charity

Microsoft is getting in a giving mood, and partnering with the annual Extra Life charity to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. Dubbed the "Gaming and Giving for Good" (or "G3") event, Microsoft is encouraging users to play games on the weekend of October 1, with sponsors promising money for each hour spent. And to make sure you have plenty of options to play, Microsoft is making that a free Gold weekend.

The official site has the details. You simply register through Extra Life, find family and friends to sponsor your hours of charity gaming, and then play like mad starting on October 1. You can set a goal and register individually or as the captain or member of a team.

Donations will be given to local Children's Miracle Network hospitals, and you can pick your target hospital so you'll be helping out sick children near your own hometown. Extra Life has already been donating to CMN for years, but Microsoft's involvement might just give it an extra shot in the arm to make this year the biggest yet.

If you're busy the weekend of October 1, this year's regular Extra Life event starts on October 15, so you'll still have a chance at donating your time -- just not during the free Gold weekend.