Here we are at the tail end of February, and the only piece of new content we got for GTA Online in 2017 was that one new bike and two cars. With rumors – granted, pretty hard to believe rumors – about content support for GTA Online slowing down and eventually ceasing entirely this year floating around, this isn’t exactly reassurance. However, don’t go declaring the apocalypse just yet.
The fears of players that GTA Online might stop getting DLC updates might seem founded at first glance, what with the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 just around the corner, but there are a handful of reasons why we shouldn’t be worried about the future of the game in spite of what seems like a relatively long span of time without any DLC.
Firstly, it’s barely been more than a month, and GTA Online went without an update for longer in the past. All this lack of new content means is that Rockstar is likely cooking up something major, which is a hypothesis that’s supported by rumors as well, so they might as well carry as much weight as the ones claiming the cessation of DLC, right?
Thing is, there is a lot more than mere rumors to back up the fact that we’ll be getting more DLC for GTA Online. First of all, Rockstar said so themselves in a Newswire post recently. Granted, faith in vague post-script descriptions near the end of Newswire posts may have wavered considering single player DLC was promised the same way years ago. But hey, GTA Online is still really profitable.
If you might not be all that trusting of Rockstar’s words, in spite of them being truly the only actually reliable source of information and news, there is still sales data. Player number increases and common sense to prove that yes, GTA Online will continue to get content support from the developers.
You just might have heard recently that GTA 5 has shipped 75 million copies to retailers since the news has been posted pretty much everywhere. Multiple times. The game’s selling really well, okay? Not only that, but the title hit the top spot in sales charts three times just this year, so you can bet your ass that the next investor call will be announcing that 80 million milestone, if not one even higher than that.
Now, what company in their right mind would drop support for a game that’s selling more copies and most current major AAA releases? Why would Rockstar not invest the comparatively minuscule amount of resources required to produce GTA Online DLC, when that’s the very thing that’s driving Shark Card sales?
Players keep worrying that the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the cause of this, and its imminent release will somehow mean the “end” of GTA Online. First of all, with a release date slated for autumn, Red Dead Redemption 2 has very likely been in development for 4-5 years now, and Rockstar had no trouble producing GTA Online DLC all this time now has it?
Rockstar as a company is composed of several studios, one of which deals in GTA, another in Red Dead, and the others in whatever other unnamed and unannounced projects the company is secretly cooking up (cross fingers for Agent). If you think resources are an issue, don’t. Shark Cards alone brought in $500 million, and that was a year ago. If only half of those 75 million sales are full-price, the game has already made billions upon billions in profits.
The argument about ceasing GTA Online DLC on account of Red Dead Redemption 2 goes even beyond all this. When it comes to GTA Online, the target audience for the game, and in general the vast majority of players, won’t be bleeding over to RDR2. The majority of Online’s players aren’t reading this article, nor do they much care for video games at all.
They’re the demographic which owns whichever console most of their friends own, and play just GTA, CoD and FIFA. They don’t read gaming news, follow the gaming industry or know what a “Red Dead” is. Those players of GTA Online who can be considered hardcore gamers are an ever decreasing minority, and while they will likely jump ship when Red Dead Redemption 2 hits, the game will retain most of its player base.
That means microtransaction revenue won’t exactly be taking a hit when the new title is released, which furthermore means it would be absolutely moronic to cripple a perfectly viable, stable and lucrative source of income which requires minimal investment. In the grand scheme of things, putting together updates along the lines of Import/Export doesn’t cost too much.
With GTA 5, Rockstar struck gold in more ways than one. This title wasn’t the only one to be released at the turn of the console generation, however it was the only one which truly took advantage of the situation and managed to drag out its shelf life across three years. Having launched on 5 different platforms was also a major boon, and one the title rode like no other multiplatform game.
Nonetheless, we’d really like a hint as to what we should expect for the first major update of 2017. Most likely it will continue the CEO line we’ve seen with Executives and Other Criminals, Further Adventures in Finance and Felony and most recently Import/Export. We’ve thrown an idea out there about a way to utilize that big empty ocean surrounding the map, however it’s too far fetched to be anywhere close to what we will actually get.
That said, this longer period of silence might be reason to believe that those rumors about a map expansion with one of the other cities from the franchise might be true, and the next update won’t just be a big one, but it will be an absolute game changer. While most fans are hoping for the addition of Liberty City, one of the other cities from San Andreas would be more logical, and could be added into the same physical location, on a second island plopped into the sea right next to this one.
Another possibility is that Rockstar wrapped up their CEO “series” of updates with Import/Export last year, and want to kick off a new long-reaching theme for the new year. Among the most requested updates is a police DLC, and getting one like it might be the beginning of a series of new updates that would let players dabble in the emergency services, but with a criminal twist.
Play as corrupt cops to secure arms shipments for yourselves, impersonate paramedics and after you pick up patients in an ambulance only to harvest their organs for black market sales or set fire to banks only to rob them when you come to put out the blaze as a firefighter.
Whatever kind of update we’ll get, we sure hope we’ll get it soon. Even an official announcement with an upcoming release date would be better than being left in the dark with no idea as to what the future holds for GTA Online.
What do you think? Sound off below!