Sep 26, 2013
Rockstar’s upcoming Grand Theft Auto Online is hotly anticipated, yet recent news has arisen regarding certain micro-transactions that will take place within the game.
The basic concept is that you purchase in game money, for your hard-earned real-world money. This was spotted within an XML file on Rockstar’s own website. The game is set to launch on the 1st of October, and this news comes as disappointing to some.
There are four different ‘cash cards’ for you to purchase, named Red Shark, Tiger Shark, Bull Shark and Great White Shark, increasing in amounts respectively. Reports show they are going to be priced from £1.99 to £13.49.
It is still unclear how necessary these packs will be to win games in GTA Online, as if they give a huge advantaged to those who spend lots more, it could disgruntle many fans of the series. The concept of ‘pay-to-win’ is something that annoys many gamers, as all it takes to succeed is throw money at the game. It also reduces the satisfaction of overcoming challenges, as the short-cut of a payment is available. Rockstar seem to be combatting this by only allowing the purchase of certain items as you progress your level.
This comes as a change of direction for Rockstar, as they have not implemented such a model within a GTA game before this. Despite digital downloads such as DLC for GTA IV, they have made more than enough money from their games alone. When GTA V sales have topped $1 Billion, it seems greedy to implement a micro-transaction model for the online aspect of their best seller.
However, I think this shows the future Rockstar is heading in. Although disregarding any rumours of GTA V making it’s way onto next-generation consoles, this news could indicate they are looking to take GTA Online onto the PS4 and Xbox One. If this monetization proves successful, and people are willing to spend their money on in-game colelctables, then this could be a great source of revenue for Rockstar in the coming years. GTA could become an MMO of sorts (until GTA VI perhaps), but even then that may take another 4 or 5 years to develop.
It seems the future of the series could be predominantly online. Rockstar have always been colossal trend setters within the industry, and if they were to pull this off, then I predict many other companies could implement similar ideas.