The Microsoft family of platforms is finally dipping its toe a little bit further into the world of free-to-play gaming as Wargaming's rolling battle game, World of Tanks, enters into open beta on the Xbox 360 this weekend. And if you take a bit of time to give the game a go over the next couple of days, you'll even get some in-game rewards to boot.

In order to put World of Tanks through its initial paces, check code, test servers and all of that jazz, Wargaming is holding a special event from now through Dec. 15 to give all Xbox 360 users a chance to take the game out for a test drive. It's a global beta test weekend and, according to a statement from the developer, this will mark the last testing period before the game proper makes its way to an official launch.

Unlike with free-to-play games on Sony's platform, Xbox free-to-play games unfortunately require a Gold account to have access. However, a special promotion will allow non-Gold members to enjoy those benefits for a limited time, even if they've already expended their Gold trial period at an earlier date.

“The beta will be available to all gamers with Xbox Live accounts, while those without it will be able to get in on the action for a seven-day trial period,” reads the press release. “As an added bonus to non-Gold account holders who may have already expended their seven-day trial period, the trial will reset, giving gamers an additional seven days of playing time.”

Other than a Gold subscription, jumping into World of Tanks is otherwise free. You can buy cosmetic stuff, boosts and additional tanks, sure, but that's how these types of games seem to work best. Enjoy what they have to offer at zero introductory cost and, if you like what you're getting gratis, maybe buy a few digital goods along the way to show your support. They're basically giving away a tank-based combat game, after all, and even sweetening the pot with additional goodies for beta tester.

“All players who log in and play at least 10 matches on Saturday, Dec. 14 (TODAY!), from 3-6 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) will receive seven days of free Premium Account status, which provides a higher accrual rate of credits and experience earned during play, once the game goes live,” says the announcement. “Lastly, the game will be further updated with the brand new United Kingdom tank line, adding to the game some of the most iconic vehicles from that nation, including the Churchill, the Black Prince and the Matilda.”

Holy crap, do the British know how to name their tanks or what? No random mix of number and letters here, just some good old fashioned, badass handles.

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