Rockstar Games have shown that they are not too averse to the idea of having GTA games on mobile devices, having released a bunch of PS2-era titles for the platform.
Mobile gaming might still be a touchy subject for console and PC players as they consider it to be an "inferior" platform.
However, the fact is that mobile devices have become a legitimate platform for gaming and have even replaced handheld gaming devices in some ways. Handheld consoles like the PS Vita have essentially been replaced by far more economical and handy smartphones.
The rise in the viability of mobile devices as gaming platforms comes as a result of advanced mobile tech becoming more accessible over the years. While it would be a major ask for games like GTA 5 or even GTA 4 to be brought over to mobile platforms, it might be an achievable target in a few years.
Should Rockstar Games develop mobile versions of GTA 5 and GTA 4?
What appeal do GTA games have on smartphones?
As it stands, there are several games from the GTA franchise on both Android and iOS devices, namely:
- Grand Theft Auto III
- Grand Theft Auto Vice City
- Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
- Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars
- Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories
The majority of these games (bar Chinatown Wars) belong to what has been dubbed the 3D Universe. The later games in the series (GTA 4, GTA 5, Online, and Chinatown Wars) have come to be known as the HD Universe.
The 3D Universe essentially consists of games that are far less taxing on hardware as compared to the HD Universe. While it is true that Chinatown Wars does exist on mobile platforms, it is the sole exception in a lineup of otherwise large games that will require powerful hardware.
The appeal of older GTA games on mobile is borne out of several factors, the most significant of which is nostalgia. At the same time, players would much rather pay significantly less for the titles on mobile than on a PC or console.
For instance, GTA Vice City on mobile costs about $4.99, while on Steam, the same game costs about $9.99. Console versions cost significantly more. Plus, it helps that players can enjoy their favorite open-world games while on the go.
The controls might feel a bit uncomfortable to non-mobile gamers at first, but it doesn't take long to get used to them. The games on mobile are, in no way, inferior to the version of the game on console and PC, so there is no trade-off in terms of quality.
Will GTA 4 or 5 be successful on mobile?
Ultimately, if the tech is available for GTA 4 and 5 to run without much issue on mobile, Rockstar will likely have little reservation. However, the affordability of devices with that kind of tech is going to be something that the company will consider.
As it stands, both GTA 4 and GTA 5 are incredibly large games that require a ton of storage space as well as significant hardware to run. Even today's mid-tier PCs face some challenges when trying to run GTA 5, which says a lot for a game from 2013.
Both games will likely be a major success on mobile, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to bring over inferior versions of the said games.
Mobile hardware will need to get significantly better to be an option for Rockstar. Cloud streaming could perhaps be the way forward, as services like Xbox Game Pass allow players to play games like GTA 5 on their Android devices while streaming on their PCs.