Some of you may have noticed the lack of a new weekly event kicking off in Grand Theft Auto Online today, though we'd understand if you were more focused on the wave of protests against police brutality spreading through the USA and other countries.
Rockstar certainly was, and GTA Online will temporarily go dark to honor George Floyd, the latest name to be added to the despairingly long list of black victims of police violence.
Rockstar announced via Twitter - in a post starting with the clear statement "Black Lives Matter" - that both GTA Online and Red Dead Online will go offline between 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET today. This outage was planned in honor of George Floyd, whose death sparked a series of protests that have spread beyond the borders of the USA in the days since the incident.
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Black Lives Matter. To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) June 4, 2020
Rockstar has also encouraged players to donate to a number of organizations that fight for equality and against discrimination via Charity Navigator. These groups include NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, and the National Black Child Development Institute among others. It is unclear what donations, if any, Rockstar is making to these or other groups.
2K Games, another subsidiary of parent company Take-Two Interactive is increasing the funding of its 2K Foundations program by $1 million. The announcement also stated that the company will now expand its mission to fight racial injustice. Whether this is the full extent of Take-Two's contributions to the ongoing battle against racial discrimination is unclear.
The server outage will give players a perfect opportunity to spend some time informing themselves about the issues of inequality in the USA and other nations. When the servers come back, we should all strive to make GTA Online a welcoming environment for gamers of all backgrounds.
We here at GTABOOM share Rockstar's sentiments. Black lives matter.