The majority of fans have been critical of Rockstar Games' decision to launch a membership service for GTA Online. Called GTA+, it brings exclusive features and benefits to members monthly and is only available on the next-gen edition for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
The most important thing that has fans have worried about since the announcement of this service is the next GTA title. A subscription service like this, which most fans consider a blatant cash-grab, raises the question of how Grand Theft Auto 6 might turn out.
To what extent might GTA+ affect how future Rockstar titles are developed?
GTA+ is a subscription service for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S version of GTA Online. It brings several benefits, such as monthly cash rewards, exclusive vehicle upgrades, access to all past limited-time events, bonus cash on Shark Card purchases, etc.
However, it also makes the Online experience more annoying for non-members. As the above tweet shows, a feature advertised as being available to all gamers is now locked behind a paywall.
Here's another example of Rockstar backing out of their own statement regarding money-grabbing tactics. The above statement was made when Grand Theft Auto Online was first released. For new players, the fact that the developer is promising not to include paywalls and not to imbalance the game might feel almost surreal and paradoxical.
This is because these are the very changes to the game that fans have heavily criticized throughout the years. With GTA+, however, they seem to be taking things a bit further.
Where will the subscription service take Rockstar?
A significant number of fans have been worried since the announcement of the exclusive subscription service, and they have every reason to do so. As the tweet above points out, many big names in the gaming industry have taken this route, and it hasn't ended well for them.
The esteemed Battlefield series instilled much hope in fans with Battlefield 2042, but the launch left everyone disappointed. It acted as the final nail to the coffin for the franchise with its buggy and unimpressive gameplay.
The Battlefront series, a spinoff of Battlefield based on the Star Wars Universe, suffered a similar fate.
Even GTA-like games like the Saints Row series seem to be heading in the same direction. The upcoming game's trailer was met with much hostility from the fanbase.
It was only a matter of time before Rockstar would take a step down the same path, as the Expanded and Enhanced Edition was mocked by many as a simple cash-grab.
The publisher dropped the title from this next-gen edition, but its launch wasn't much-praised either. However, sales figures for the title proved that it doesn't matter if the fanbase reacts positively or not. There will always be a vast number of casual users who will buy these games and make such games profitable for the developers and producers.
In fact, this might be why game developers nowadays are following through with whatever they want, even amid heavy backlash. This doesn't instill hope for Grand Theft Auto fans and instead makes the situation seem pretty grim for them.
GTA 6 might surprise fans
However, there's also the fact that Grand Theft Auto 6 is on an entirely different level. Every GTA game has been a revolutionary force in the gaming industry, one that has changed the industry as a whole.
Whatever Rockstar would bring forth, gamers expect it to be bigger and better than Red Dead Redemption 2. This title was hailed as a masterpiece when it came out.
As such, most players expect GTA 6 to be free from this profit-motivated mindset. At this point, however, it's a little hard to guess if this will be true or not. Players have to accept the fact that such in-game monetizations are the new normal.
Will Rockstar go the way of microtransactions and implement pay-to-win gameplay, or will the next Grand Theft Auto title be untouched by these recent developments? This is a question that has plagued fans for quite some time.
The company has also often stated that it wishes to create gripping movie-like narratives through its games. RDR2 was the result of this POV, and the next Grand Theft Auto title is also expected to follow this pattern. If they stick to this, it would be enough for most fans to be satisfied.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.