Update: And it's up, folks. The patch weighs in at 39MB on the PlayStation 3. Have you downloaded it yet? What are you planning to do online first? Let us know in the comments section below.

Original: Grand Theft Auto V may have launched two weeks ago, but it’s about to get a second wind courtesy of the sequel’s hotly anticipated multiplayer component. Grand Theft Auto Online will launch at around 07:00AM EST / 12:00PM BST, when you’ll need to download and install a 100kb title update in order to unlock the mode. From there, you’ll be able to access the online component by selecting the fourth character slot in the title’s character select wheel.

The mode’s set a few months prior to the events of the main campaign, and will see you interacting with familiar faces from the world of Los Santos. You’ll be able to purchase properties, hang-out in your friends’ gaffes, and go on heists together. Microtransactions will be supported in the game, but the publisher insists that it’s found a balance by locking equipment behind Reputation Points. In short, you can’t simply buy your way to all of the best gear.

According to the publisher, the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online merely represents the start of the experience. New jobs will be added over time, while the service will expand with a Content Creator tool later in the year. Nothing has been announced, but you should also probably expect a number of DLC packs in the future, ranging from cosmetic additions to new vehicles and more. The world is clearly Rockstar’s oyster here.

We’ll update this post as soon as Grand Theft Online goes live. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on the multiplayer component in the comments section below. Are you looking forward to diving online? Who are you planning to play with? Do you even expect the game’s servers to cope with today’s inevitable demand? That last point’s particularly pertinent given the state of the Rockstar Social Club over the past couple of weeks...