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(Pocket-lint) - Rockstar has launched the much-anticipated persistently online multiplayer version of its latest Grand Theft Auto game. GTA Online is available to all Xbox 360 and PS3 owners who have a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. And what's more, it's free.

The online mode is accessible after a short update is downloaded through Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network and installed. You can then create and save a character, although Pocket-lint has found that, like on the launch day of GTA V, Rockstar's servers are overloaded at present.

If you're struggling to create your own character you can play with a temporary character, so the server downtime shouldn't stop you from jumping into the game.

Read: Grand Theft Auto V review

Rockstar has also released a statement on the in-game transactions system, where you can choose to purchase in-game credit with real money. It says that those who do shouldn't gain too much advantage over those who don't, and the game balance should not be skewed.

"To allay some concerns we’ve heard on this subject, we can assure you that the game is designed such that the option of purchasable GTA$ should not disrupt the playing field - and there are a few mechanics in place to help ensure that," it says.

"All players still have to rank up with Reputation Points (RP) in order to get access to purchase high-end items. No one can begin GTA Online and simply spend a lot of money out of the gate to get a leg up."

To start GTA Online you can either hit a button during the initial game loading time, select your character as the bottom playable character during a GTA V session or select the menu in the main menu screen.

Read: GTA V: Middle Class pursuits to take your mind off killing

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 1 October 2013.