Transitioning to a new generation of consoles always has its share of challenges and issues that crop up in the months after release. Grand Theft Auto 5 and GTA Online launched recently on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5, and are no exception. Players have been getting inexplicable ban messages and Rockstar chimed in.
The most important thing to note right off the bat is that players who encounter this bug are not actually banned. It is simply an erroneous flag, Rockstar knows about it, and they're working on a fix. The issue presents itself in some cases when players try loading into GTA Online straight from story mode. Doing so might present you with a warning screen stating that you have been permanently banned from the game.
Obviously this will cause panic in anyone when they first see it - unless you're a seasoned cheater and are breaching the ToS even now, in which case, shame. So news of the bug spread online rapidly. Using the character wheel, which lets you switch between Franklin, Michael and Trevor in GTA 5's story mode, you can also select your GTA Online character which will load you into the multiplayer mode.
This feature was devised as a way to let players jump into the multiplayer mode easily from single player, without having to navigate a bunch of menus beforehand. Unfortunately, when players were using this quality of life feature they would be met my the ban message.
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After encountering this ban message, attempting to log into GTA Online via the menus instead would usually throw a different error message about connection issues. Rockstar Games has, in the wake of a lot of noise about the issue, posted an official FAQ entry about the bug.
As Rockstar is working on a fix, which should help anyone affected by the bug access GTA Online without issue, we recommend that everyone only enter the multiplayer mode via the game menus and not with the character wheel. Note that this issue is only present on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
In the meantime, some players have realized that the erroneous ban issued is an IP ban, so if you know how to change your IP address then you should be able to play the game either way. In the case of legitimate bans, circumventing said ban with this method usually isn't possible and will just get your account stricken further. Of course, many players might not want to fiddle with these settings, making a fix for the issue quite urgent.
Hopefully Rockstar Games will resolve the bug swiftly - in the meantime, make sure to avoid using the character wheel to load into GTA Online!