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Is it time for GTA Online to drop "Pay to Win" Shark Cards?

(Image via Microsoft)
(Image via Microsoft)
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Rahul Bhushan

Microtransactions have been one of the biggest points of contention with regards to AAA games like GTA Online. Not only do they essentially rob the idea of player progression for a game that players pay full-price for already, they can ruin the experience of other players too.

The microtransaction model is one that AAA games and other free-to-play console and PC games have adopted from the mobile games industry.

It makes sense for free-to-play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends to have incorporated microtransactions without backlash because that's part of the business model and don't exactly break the game.

In games like GTA Online, where having boatloads of cash results in better equipment and weapons, players can have an obscene advantage over others.

Plus, Microtransactions in full-priced AAA games create a disconnect with players as ideally, they shouldn't have to pay more in a game they've already paid some 60 bucks for.

Is it time for GTA Online to drop "Pay to Win" Shark Cards entirely?

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GTA Online contains microtransactions in the form of Shark Cards. These absurdly priced Shark Cards are essentially the reason why new players are averse to the idea of tring the game.

What Shark Cards essentially represents is a way to close the gap between new players and veterans. Yet, the end result is the player learning virtually nothing about GTA Online, yet having immense power over the game.

This then, leads to "griefers", players who essentially play the game to ruin it for others. Which is a bad situation all around.

Newer players, and sometimes even veterans, are impacted due to GTA Online lobbies being turned into griefer paradise. A new player in the lobby could be easily eliminated by a Shark Card enthusiast who could just keep spamming the Orbital Cannon.

This creates a lot of problems for the game, such as:

  1. New players are not encouraged to try the game.
  2. Progression becomes a grind-fest to push players towards Shark Cards.
  3. The number of griefers increase exponentially.

GTA Online as a standalone title in 2021

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In the second half of 2021, GTA Online is set to become a standalone title, much like Western brethren, Red Dead Online. A possible glimmer of hope for the fanbase lied in the fact that this would essentially mean the game would be rid of Shark Cards.

However, Red Dead Online still has microtransactions in the form of Gold Bars, which doesn't exactly bode well for GTA Online either. As things stand, if GTA Online is to continue its succesful run alongside mainline sequels, Shark Cards are defininitely excess baggage Rockstar needs to unload.


Edited by Srijan Sen
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