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How much longer can GTA Online survive in the face of stiff competition?

GTA Online is doing better now than it did in recent years (Image via SpeirsTheAmazingHD, YouTube)
GTA Online is doing better now than it did in recent years (Image via SpeirsTheAmazingHD, YouTube)
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2021
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GTA Online is more than capable of outlasting its competition.

Sometimes, fans wrongfully assume that a game is dead because it is old or doesn't have much hype around it. However, they couldn't be more wrong in this regard when it comes to GTA Online.

In terms of sheer numbers, GTA Online is doing amazingly well. In fact, it's doing better now than it did in recent years. Calling it a "dead game" is disingenuous at best and foolish at worst.

GTA Online might not be the number one game in the world right now, but there is a reason why it often pops up in the top ten of the Steam Charts.


Why GTA Online can still survive in the face of stiff competition

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

GTA Online was released in 2013, and it's still going strong in 2021.

Sure, there are elements in GTA Online that fans want to improve, but there's a reason why the current formula is highly successful.

Financial success

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Image via Screen Rant
Image via Screen Rant

It should go without saying that a gaming company's primary interest is earning a profit. Unsurprisingly, GTA Online has proven itself to be a cash cow for Rockstar Games. Although fans hate microtransactions, in-game features like Shark Cards are highly instrumental in making the game "free-to-play" for fans that own GTA 5.

One should also note that GTA Online is often listed as GTA 5 on several sites. Technically, GTA Online is a part of GTA 5, so it makes sense that GTA 5 gets the credit for its accomplishments.

Top-grossing gaming titles ranked by December 2020 earnings (Image via SuperData)
Top-grossing gaming titles ranked by December 2020 earnings (Image via SuperData)
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In the above graph, fans can see Grand Theft Auto V (often abbreviated by fans as GTA 5) ranking number four on console. This was around the time of the Cayo Perico update, which was one of the best updates in terms of enjoyment and content.

NBA 2K21 is full of microtransactions, while a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is from a top-rated franchise. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 won't rank higher than GTA Online forever, as there are zero microtransactions in that game.

While some fans are concerned about GTA Online's PC performance, there are many reasons to suggest that the game is still doing very well in that market. In fact, Steam Charts' numbers suggest that GTA Online is still one of the most popular PC games around.

Steam Charts numbers

Top games ranked by current players (Image via Steam Charts)
Top games ranked by current players (Image via Steam Charts)

GTA Online is still widely played through GTA 5 to this very day. Ranking number seven out of every Steam game is no joke.

Keep in mind that Steam Charts only shows the number of players playing through Steam on PC, so other platforms are not represented here. In the above example, there are 108,561 users playing GTA 5 through Steam, with an unknown number for other platforms.

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Considering how much money GTA Online has garnered through its console versions (as seen in the SuperData graph in the previous section), one can only imagine that the console numbers are on par or even more impressive than its Steam Charts numbers.

GTA Online is consistently in the top ten. It wasn't just in the top ten last week, but it's been there for months. Fans absolutely love the game, so it's highly unlikely it'll go away anytime soon, stiff competition or not.

Pragmatic reasons

GTA Online no real competition for its current niche (Image via ComicBook.com)
GTA Online no real competition for its current niche (Image via ComicBook.com)

GTA Online is a one-of-a-kind game. For example, fans can mock PUBG if they prefer Fortnite because they're both battle royales. However, GTA Online is the only game of its class and fame; there is no real competition for its current niche from a pragmatic point of view.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has some similar qualities, but it's also by Rockstar Games, so it would hardly be considered a loss if some users play the title.

GTA Online's biggest competition

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(Image via News Beezer)
(Image via News Beezer)

GTA Online's biggest and most fierce competition is, most likely, GTA 6.

Fans often migrate towards superior sequels, so GTA 6 is the most likely contender that can reduce GTA 5's current popularity and success.

However, almost nothing is known about GTA 6 at present, so it's safe to say GTA Online still has a few good years left.

Published 19 Feb 2021, 07:43 IST
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