Alright, so we have good news and bad news. The good news is that yesterday's prediction was correct and a new round of in-game bonuses have been kicked off for GTA Online. Additional good news is that we now have official confirmation that we're still getting updates in 2017 in spite of a rumor floating about that the end of Online is upon us.
The bad news, however, is that unless you upgrade before the 6th of March to a current-gen console and grab GTA 5's Enhanced Edition, players gaming on last-gen systems will no longer be able to carry their progress over to the new platforms. Rockstar will end the character transfer feature for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
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Now, before anyone starts wailing about how this is unfair and greedy (somehow?)... okay, who are we kidding, the community sites have already been set on fire. Nonetheless, there are a handful of reasons why the character transfer system is being axed. In reality, no one should be surprised, since rumors of this happening already flared up in 2016.
For the young'uns among us, character transferring is a feature that allows early adopters of GTA 5 who are/were playing on the past gen consoles having bought the game upon/around launch to carry their progress over to their new systems when making the jump to either PC or the current gen.
This way, if a long-time player decided to make the upgrade, but still wanted to play GTA Online, they wouldn't need to start from scratch in the Enhanced Edition, but would keep their appearance, rank, unlocks, cash and pretty much all progress thanks to the transfer. Returning players, as they are called, were also rewarded with unique items as a sign of gratitude for their loyalty. They did, after all, buy the game multiple times.
First of all, let's point out the fact that few multi-gen games have similar systems, and Rockstar was in absolutely no way obliged to do this. The fact that the transfer system existed and you had a chance to use it this long was a gift in the first place. Try and remember that going forward.
Second, and this is the same argument brought up whenever someone antagonizes Rockstar for the cessation of DLC support on the past-gen, is that continuing to support the previous generation in any way at all is becoming more and more expensive and simultaneously less and less rewarding quite literally every day.
Years have passed since the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and this generation transition has been the most lenient to people who haven't yet upgraded in the history of the gaming industry. All these measures put in place that tried to keep the past-gen caught up came at a loss for companies.
Each day, more and more players trade in or sell their old console and either upgrade or jump over to PC. New iterations of the current consoles have since been released, and the gap between the two generations is growing ever larger, making it a poor business decision to spend ever increasing amounts of resources on the dwindling old guard.
Another, rather significant issue with character transfers as it is the only way to "cheat" in GTA Online on current generation consoles, albeit indirectly. Since cheating and hacking is rampant on the 360 and PS3, players can get their characters over-levelled and add billions of in-game dollars to their bank accounts, then transfer that character to the Xbox One and PS4.
Since the cheat detection method used by Rockstar tracks sudden and large changes in either money or rank, this wouldn't tip it off since the hacked cash was already there, so it isn't technically a change. Another factor to consider is that both current gen consoles have anti-cheat systems built in on the device level, and have yet to be cracked, meaning the game's anti-cheat on the PS4 and Xbox One versions is likely lax compared to PC.
By getting rid of character transfers, Rockstar can streamline any ongoing development that goes into GTA 5, while also plugging the only source of cheating on two major platforms. In essence, they would be stupid not to do it, you really shouldn't blame them for going down this path.
In other news, a new event has been kicked off in GTA Online. Funnily enough, the news that the character transfers will end on March 6th was added as a short aside in a post detailing the various double cash and RP promotions. Priorities?
Anyway, three Adversary Modes will be offering twice the usual rewards on all maps through the 13th. The Modes in question are Vehicle Vendetta, Juggernaut and Lost Vs Damned. If you want a better chance at playing with full lobbies and getting a good variety, jump into the event playlist which will mix one map of each into the rotation.
A whole lot of discounts are on offer as well, once again slashing the prices of some of the most expensive and most useful gains in GTA Online. To be honest, Rockstar has really been killing it with the discounts and bonus payout promos recently. Once again, executive offices are 50% off, cutting those hefty prices down into more affordable chunks.
In case you want to jump into vehicle exportation right away, the 25% discount on all vehicle warehouses should make that investment easier as well. While many players would have you think Import/Export was unfairly priced, if you follow the tips in our guide you'll be making tons of cash in no time.
The discounts don't end there. Getting armed to the teeth will cost you no more than mere pocket change thanks to the 25% discount on all pistols, LMGs and sniper rifles. Vehicles are being discounted en-masse as well, with the Pegassi Osiris, the Cargobob, the Turreted Limo and the Buzzard all enjoying a 25% price cut.
Upgrading your rides, both in terms of visuals and performance, will be a cheaper affair as well for a while thanks to a host of discounts at Benny's Original Motorworks and Los Santos Customs. Not only is the Principe Diabolus bike 25% off, but so are all of Benny's visual mods including Liveries, tires, wheels, bobbleheads, spoilers, and trims. LSC ups the ante with a 50% price cut on armor and bulletproof tires, while offering the standard 25% discount on cosmetic upgrades such as wheels, tires, lights, plates, hoods, tints, and resprays.
Not one, but two new Premium Races have been designated. The first, The Wave locked to the Diabolus, will be on duty between now and the 5th of February. Vespucci will then take over and be active through the 13th. As a first, special time trials have also been named that will offer additional rewards during their respective timeframes, which are through the 5th for Storm Drain and through the 12th for Up Chiliad.
Rockstar also took the space to thank the players who go to the length of reporting cheaters and hackers, thus allegedly helping to keep the servers clean. We do know that the cheat detection is pretty damn effective, and possibly even a little hyperactive at times.
A handful of interesting stats about the past year in the world of GTA Online were also revealed for the first time. It's quite obvious that the game's popularity is booming on the current gen consoles and PC in spite of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 getting the advantage of the launch spike.
For players on PS4, Xbox One and PC that translated to 11 million new CEO Organizations established, 13 million Stunt Races played, 15 million matches of Juggernaut, 24 million new Motorcycle Clubs founded and 10 billion vehicle modifications applied just in December alone, plus tons more varied criminal activity happening each day.
Rockstar ended their post with a short but very significant send-off. Rumors have been hanging in the air that 2017 might see the decline and eventual end of GTA Online in favor of the company's upcoming major release, Red Dead Redemption 2 and its own associated multiplayer mode. It seems these rumors caused big enough a stir for Rockstar to clarify its plans going forward.
Stay tuned for upcoming info on new updates in the works for GTA Online in 2017.
With one short sentence, Rockstar assuaged any fears about the impending virtual apocalypse that many feared would strike GTA Online. Debate an discourse about any potential negative effects RDR2 might have for the game have been flying about the place ever since the latter's announcement.
Now, months of speculation have been definitively answered. The question, however remains: will GTA Online continue on business as usual, allowing RDR2 to have its time in the spotlight, or will Rockstar make some big splash to keep everyone's attention on the company's cash cow?