Rockstar Games recently announced that Grand Theft Auto 5 will be coming to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. This will be the third generation of consoles that the game will have been released on, extending GTA 5's lifespan by several more years.
It is a boon to fans as well as developers, and the eventual sequel.
Following the announcement that GTA 5 will be ported to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, many were concerned it was simply a case of Take-Two milking a game longer than they should.
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GTA 5 and Online have defied all expectations set for AAA titles by staying successful and relevant, on a truly global scale, throughout two console generations - so far. What's more, the game shows no signs of losing steam.
For seven years now, GTA 5 has been a staple of sales charts in the US, UK and other regions, and even managed to ramp up those numbers in recent months.
People, for better or worse, are still buying GTA 5 in droves. The game recently reached the 130 million shipped copies milestone, and 120 million was hit this year too. Some AAA games don't move 10 million copies ever, let alone over the course of just three months, and a whole seven years after launch!
If people are still buying this game, why wouldn't Rockstar bring it to new consoles? GTA 5 persisting in the next-gen is ultimately beneficial for us in multiple ways.
When a new gen rolls around, many people finance the upgrade to their latest platform of choice by selling their previous machines. With backwards compatibility being the expected norm, this is even more prevalent nowadays. If you've spent all these years progressing through GTA Online, you probably won't want to let go.
While continuing your Online journey would be facilitated with backwards compatibility, if people are buying and playing the game on new systems anyway, why not port it in a way that makes use of the new hardware properly? It's not like GTA 5 wouldn't have been available on PS5 without this port, meaning Rockstar is simply giving fans more choice.
It cuts the developers some slack too.
Alongside the port, Rockstar also revealed that GTA Online is going standalone and free-to-play. Splitting off the immensely popular multiplayer portion of the game from the single-player part implies that GTA 6's smaller-scope launch might be single-player only, with the current incarnation of Online being further updated and expanded.
GTA Online is popular for a reason, and that reason isn't a lack of alternatives.
People aren't flocking to it because it's the only game to play, and the industry landscape is more diverse right now than ever. Keeping GTA Online alive isn't, by some twisted logic, depriving us of other games. It does, however, foster one of the largest active communities in gaming.
Video game lifecycles have been going through a metamorphosis throughout the past generation and our traditional understanding of how long a game is meant to be sold no longer applies. At the end of the day, GTA 5 being brought into the next-gen has no drawbacks for players, for the franchise, or for the industry.
See you in Los Santos on PS5 and Xbox One in 2021!