As much sense as this makes, it still is somewhat surprising. During Sony's PlayStation 5 reveal event today, it was revealed that Rockstar Games is porting Grand Theft Auto 5 to the next generation of consoles. GTA 5 launches on PS5 and Xbox Series X in 2021.
Coming back for round 3 - or 4, depending on how you view the PC port - this latest release of the game will once again get a new coat of polish to make the most of the new hardware at Rockstar Games' disposal. Additionally, Rockstar and Sony's partnership is still very much alive, with several bonuses awaiting PS5 players.
The other main announcement, which might even overshadow the news of the new ports, is that GTA Online is going standalone in 2021 and free to play. This move was a long time coming - one we predicted years ago - since microtransactions in Online are a sizeable revenue source for Take-Two, and making the game F2P will increase the potential customer base immensely.
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This standalone version of GTA Online will be exclusively available to PS5 players, for free, during the first three months of its lifespan. After that, the service will be accessible on PC and other consoles as well. On top of all this, PlayStation Plus members playing GTA Online on PS4 will get a bonus grant of 1,000,000 GTA$ every single month they log in, up until the PS5 launch of Online.
Rockstar is already planning on ways to utilize the new resources provided by stronger consoles. Not only will the next-gen port of the game be further enhanced in terms of visuals and performance, but right off the bat they will roll out updates for GTA Online that are exclusive to the new consoles and PC.
It took a while during the transition from the previous to current-gen for PS3 and Xbox 360 updates to be phased out entirely. We're not sure if this means all updates after the next-gen release will skip the current platforms, or if there will be additional DLC on the PS5 and Xbox Series X while regular updates continue on the PS4 and Xbox One as well.
GTA Online going standalone also raises interesting questions regarding GTA 6.
We learned that the next game in the series will be a smaller project to mitigate crunch, and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick recently explained why the continued success of Online won't delay the next game.
Does this mean GTA 6 won't have a multiplayer mode of its own, and that the current incarnation of Online will simply go on to get more and more content, updates and innovations? Only time will tell.