Rockstar Games Details Grand Theft Auto Online Hours Before Launch
First and foremost, access to GTA Online is free with your copy of Grand Theft Auto V (be sure to read our review of the game). You just need to download a small "Title Update" via PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, which will unlock the online component in the GTA V menu. You'll then be able to jump into GTA Online using the fourth (bottom) slot in your GTA V character wheel.
As for the story, GTA Online is set a few months before the single player events that take place in GTA V, so you don't have to worry about spoilers or loose ends messing up the experience. There will be plenty of criminal activities to participate in, though an interesting feature is the ability to send and receive house party invitations. This allows you to visit each other's living quarters without having to worry about losing hard earned vehicles.
"If someone invites you into their property, then it is considered a friendly visit and you will not be able to shoot up their place or steal their cars from their garage," Rockstar Games explains. "By the way, in any given lobby, if you and another player own the same piece of property, you will each be able to enter your own personal instance of that property at any given time. You will also be able to enter each other’s instance of that property if you exchange and accept an invite. This way, multiple instances of ownership of the same property within a lobby can co-exist."
Fair play is probably the biggest concern gamers have, and Rockstar Games ensures that the option of purchasable GTA$ won't disrupt the playing field. All players still have to rank up with Reputation Points (RP) in order to get access to purchase high-end items, so no one can hop online and buy their way into being a badass right out of the gate.
If you plan to play GTA Online, look for the update to roll out today, if not already.