In an effort to boost the numbers of its Gold subscribers on Xbox Live and promote the launch of the first piece of downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV, Microsoft and Rockstar Games have announced plans to give players a taste of the multiplayer component from "The Lost and Damned" completely free of charge.

The offer runs between February 17 and February 22 and will enable silver members who own a copy of GTA IV to experience either the original game or the upcoming expansion online at no cost - other titles are not included in the offer. There will be a number of events happening on XBL next week, as well, including an opportunity to play the game online with members of the development team at Rockstar Games.

The Lost and Damned will be the first of two exclusive episodes for Xbox 360 owners and should be available on February 17 for 1600 Microsoft Points ($20). Further details are available here.