In case you feel like maybe Grand Theft Auto 5 has not been re-released enough times on enough platforms, it seems like Rockstar Games has you covered - at least, that is what the latest re-rating of the game by the ESRB seems to imply. PC players may soon have a way to enjoy the benefits of Expanded and Enhanced.
We always urge our readers to take leaks, no matter how reputable a source they come from, with a grain of salt and only take official news at face value - this, however is hardly leak territory, as the ESRB commands the same official authority in the industry as any publisher. Ratings have long been a source of early game news, spoiling surprised before the developers have a chance to reveal them.
Now that the ESRB has re-rated GTA 5's latest version and added Microsoft Windows to their website's platform lineup for Expanded and Enhanced alongside the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, it is pretty clear that the next-gen update is hitting that platform too.
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It was an odd move to see Expanded and Enhanced skip the PC, as it lacks the kind of hardware limitations that force different versions to be released between console generations. Some content in GTA Online, specifically Hao's Special Works, was even made next-gen exclusive. Based on this rating, Rockstar was simply biding their time rather than leaving the platform in the past.
Bringing the improvements of Expanded and Enhanced to PC makes sense, as does the business model shifting move of making Online standalone. With the overall goal being the constant increase of the active player count, offering a cheaper option to get into Online on yet another platform is the logical move. That said, fans are concerned about what kind of pricing Rockstar will apply.
The AAA industry has shown examples of publishers giving away next-gen updates for free to previous owners; unfortunately, examples to the contrary are also abound. Over the years Take-Two Interactive has built up a bit of a reputation for money grabbing, leading to many fans speculating, perhaps cynically, that the 'upgrade' will be sold as a full-priced game.
That said, we need only look at the pricing of E&E to see why the situation might be much more favorable. Not only did Rockstar slash the full price of the next-gen port, they launched it with a discount right out the gate and straight up gave GTA Online standalone away for free on PlayStation 5. Considering this approach to pricing - one that is designed specifically to boost player numbers - we don't see them doing a sharp 180° turn on PC.
Considering the selling points of Expanded and Enhanced are also important - frankly, visual upgrades don't matter much to the PC crowd, as those players with strong enough rigs have been playing with better visuals than on consoles already. As for those features missing from the game outright, mods often filled the gap.
No matter how you cut it, the next-gen update simply brings less to the table for PC players, so selling it for more would hardly be a wise business decision. We see this going one of two ways - either existing owners will get the PC update for free as Rockstar delists the outdated version of the game from storefronts, replacing it with the new version of GTA 5 and adding Online as a standalone option, or the upgrade will be handled like a cheap DLC of sorts. If we do end up having to pay, we don't see it being more than a $5-$10 price tag.
Hopefully we'll hear some official news regarding this re-release of GTA 5 on PC from Rockstar themselves soon.