Anyone pondering whether or not to skip work to play Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned just got an extra incentive. Today, Microsoft announced that, to help hype the first of two 360-exclusive expansions, it would let purchasers play the game's new online modes on Xbox Live for six days at no cost. Typically, the ability to play online on XBL is limited to "gold" subscribers who pay $49.99 per year, with nonpaying "silver" subscribers merely getting access to downloadable content. By contrast, online play is free on the Wii and PlayStation 3.
The six days of the "Lost and Damned Live Week" promotion will begin at 9:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, February 17, and be limited to GTAIV and its expansion's online modes. Owners of the original Grand Theft Auto IV for Xbox 360 will also be able to play its online modes during the period, which ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 22 (aka Oscar night).
The period will also see Microsoft and Rockstar Games holding a Lost and Damned sweepstakes. To register for the sweepstakes, players must download the Lost and Damned registration picture via Xbox.com or Xbox Live and then either download the Lost and Damned add-on for 1,600 Microsoft points ($19.99) or play a multiplayer game of the original Grand Theft Auto IV. The grand prize is a Samsung 52-inch 1080p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV and a Samsung 1200W 5.1-Ch XM-Ready home theater system with an upconverting DVD player, followed by six custom-made GTAIV Xbox 360 Elites as first prize. Six $500 Best Buy gift cards will be issued as second prizes.