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Should Rockstar Games go back to expansion packs for the GTA series?

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games
Alan Sahbegovic

Expansion packs are a relic of the past thanks to microtransactions, so it wouldn't be in Rockstar Games' best interest to revisit them.

The idea of an expansion pack is awesome. Imagine if Michael De Santa went to London to do something absurd, perhaps in a James Bond sort of fashion. It wouldn't have to make much sense, for fans are more interested in the idea of making an amazing game even better. However, as exciting as the concept of expanding a single-player campaign is, it's not really feasible from an economic standpoint.

Microtransactions rule the roost in 2021. As far as economic incentive goes, Rockstar Games would make significantly more money doing something like Shark Cards in GTA Online than they would with some bonus content in GTA 5's base game. It's terrible from an entertainment standpoint, but it's the most logical choice for a business to make if they plan to succeed.



Should Rockstar Games go back to expansion packs for the GTA series?

Image via Internet Archive
Image via Internet Archive

It would be amazing to see Rockstar Games go back to expansion packs for the GTA series. Whether it's the popular GTA 4 expansion packs or GTA 1's lesser-known ones, Rockstar Games often delivers when it comes to quality. Unfortunately, the gaming landscape is wildly different today than it was over a decade ago.

As it stands today, choosing to do expansion packs isn't as profitable as the current GTA Online business model is. New content in GTA Online is similar to an expansion pack in some ways, but players don't buy it as they did with the old content. It would seem strange to think that it could be more profitable this way, until the player realizes that GTA Online's new content primarily serves as a way to incentivize players to buy Shark Cards.

Some beneficial reasons for expansion packs

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

Although Rockstar Games has more to lose than to gain from doing expansion packs these days, there are still some noteworthy benefits to doing them. The most apparent one is that it would allow Rockstar Games to explore new stories with some of the same cast. A prime example would be Luis Fernando Lopez in GTA 4, and how his role is substantially more important in his own game.

Another benefit is that making expansion packs isn't as expensive as a brand new game. In the more well-known GTA 4 examples, the two expansion packs share most of the core gameplay with the base game. The physics, graphics, and character models are identical, allowing Rockstar Games to focus on new features and other minor details.

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

One minor reason is that poor players won't have to spend as much on an expansion pack compared to constantly buying microtransactions throughout the year. That's less of a benefit for Rockstar Games and more of a benefit for the average consumer.

Likewise, expansion packs are less controversial than microtransactions. Rockstar Games' current reputation is already outstanding within the gaming community, so sadly this reason isn't as relevant as other ones. Still, it would be nice for fans of classic GTA games.

Why Rockstar Games shouldn't go back to expansion packs

Image via Tellermate
Image via Tellermate

At the end of the day, Rockstar Games is a company that seeks to make a profit. It's grown so large that its reputation will make it nigh unkillable in terms of casual perception. As a result, Rockstar Games doesn't need to cater to its hardcore fanbase, and they will likely continue to introduce microtransactions into future GTA titles in whatever their GTA Online equivalent will be.

It would be sublime to see Rockstar Games make expansion packs again, especially since DLC is so easy to download these days. However, the lack of an economic incentive means that it is highly unlikely to happen unless the amount of fanfare necessitated it.

Some disadvantageous reasons for expansion packs

Image via Christian Helms ❤ī¸ - Medium
Image via Christian Helms ❤ī¸ - Medium

The main disadvantage of reintroducing expansion packs for single-player campaigns within the GTA series is that it isn't as profitable as other options. The main alternative is microtransactions, which is deplorable ethically speaking, but it is fantastic for making a profit.

Another disadvantage of reintroducing expansion packs is that most players aren't really asking for it. It's something that would be appreciated if it were to happen, but seeing as though there is no mass fan demand for it presently, it wouldn't make sense to release it. Compare the hype for potential expansion packs to GTA 6, and the difference is night and day. Any competent market analyst could say that working on a new GTA title will be a better use of resources for Rockstar Games.

Finally, expansion packs only work for modern GTA titles. It wouldn't make sense to make an expansion pack for GTA Vice City since more people own GTA 5 than GTA Vice City. It isn't a major reason, but it is still worth noting.


Edited by Gautham Balaji

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