Grand Theft Auto Online is an online game that was launched alongside the release of Grand Theft Auto Five back in 2013. Although online play has been done before, it was never to the scale Rockstar was reaching for. The game offered fans the chance to play along with friends and experience moments that the single player campaign just couldn’t offer. While everyone including Rockstar had their expectations for this online game, no one could have predicted just how successful this would be. Despite having launched nearly ten years ago, GTA online is still played by many to this day, and more importantly for Rockstar: many of those players are still paying microtransactions.
The premise of GTA online is simple: do whatever is necessary to build your criminal empire and show off to your friends. At launch gameplay was pretty simple: to get money you could rob stores, do contact missions, and eventually do heists with friends. But the most important aspect of this game which has contributed to GTA Online’s success is the simple ability to play and goof off with your friends. Whether it’s playing cooperatively in missions or facing off against one another in PvP matches, the game offered enough replayablity to be fun with friends, and rewarded those who put in the time and got the best gear.
With each update, the content of the game got more and more over the top. At launch, the first heist offered to players was a simple bank robbery. Now, one of the more recent heists involved stealing nuclear warheads. The over the topness did not stop with heists however, with each iteration of GTA online the vehicles you could purchase became more and more powerful. Starting off with simple luxury and muscle cars, now the best vehicles you can get can fly, fire weapons, go insanely fast or are even armoured up to take tons of damage. In some rare instances, some vehicles can be a combination of all of them. Of course, these kinds of rides cost quite a pretty penny, and it’s here that some of the issues of the game come to light.
Rockstar says it themselves: Cash is king in the world of GTA Online, With it you have access to the best weapons, cars, planes and homes you can find. You can get cash in two ways, earning it though missions and heists, or by simply buying Shark Cash Cards using real life money. With how frequently Rockstar is pumping new content for the game, many players feel the only reasonable way to experience everything new is to simply buy cash cards. This and frequent issues with hackers and griefers turn some away from playing GTA Online. Despite this, GTA Online still continues to be a smash hit for Rockstar to this day, both player wise and financial wise. Some think because of this success Rockstar is hesitant to make GTA 6. After all, at this point GTA V is playable on three generations of consoles. Many think the success of microtransactions is keeping Rockstar from moving on from GTA Online.