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Did Rockstar really lock hundreds GTA Online cars behind a paywall?

Some theorize that Rockstar intends to slowly reintroduce the removed cars back into GTA Online behind a paywall.

Rockstar Games has never been afraid to speed through controversial topics. The company has literally made billions off of one of the most scrutinized and contentious franchises of all time - Grand Theft Auto. But, while most of Rockstar's decisions have endeared it to fans, often to the chagrin of government regulators and parents around the world, the most recent one has united the gaming community - and not, in a good way.

Riding the rough ties of controversy, Rockstar's decision to excise nearly 200 vehicles from the vast inventory of Grand Theft Auto Online in the latest San Andreas Mercenaries update has resulted in a ton of backlash from the community.

This move, marked as a strategy to "streamline the shopping experience," has sounded the alarm bells, sparking accusations of content paywalling, and inciting questions about the future direction of this online juggernaut.

Rockstar's deafening silence has only made the situation worse.

Much of the backlash appears to be aimed at the vehicle's presumed introduction to GTA+, a premium subscription service exclusive to current-gen consoles where a select few from the pruned list are made exclusively available.

Initially, confusion swirled around whether these vehicles were completely eradicated from the game or tucked behind a paywall. Clarity came in the form of spirited discussions online where fans dissected the implications of this decision.

In the wake of the update, players learned that ownership of the eliminated vehicles will be unaffected. Moreover, next-gen players with a GTA+ membership are allowed to acquire specific removed vehicles offered at the Vinewood Car Club. A grey area persists for last-gen or PC players, who can only obtain these vehicles sporadically via outlets like Luxury Motors and Simeon's dealership, and events like The Lucky Wheel.

Gamers have interpreted Rockstar's unexpected move as an aggressive push towards the Enhanced and Expanded (E&E) version of the game, intended for next-gen consoles. But, the backlash suggests a community feeling increasingly alienated.

Despite all the criticism, GTA V continues to rack up sales and is on its way to likely selling more than 200 million units before GTA 6 comes out.

GTA Online’s unique appeal lies in its open-world gameplay and its vast pool of accessible resources. It's no surprise that the decision to truncate vehicle availability, coupled with the introduction of a premium subscription service, has been branded as a controversial deviation from this ethos.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the fact that the culled cars are available for purchase solely by GTA+ subscribers, effectively rendering nostalgic rides locked behind a sizable paywall. Among the casualties of this purge are fan-favorites such as the Stirling GT and the Seminole Frontier. The result? A surge in displeasure among fans, who view this decision as a cash grab rather than a gameplay enhancement.

Many fans that Rockstar could have introduced a filter system in the in-game shop to make it easier to navigate through the vehicle list. This would have been a "better" approach and kept the content accessible to all players while addressing the need to simplify the shopping experience.

In the midst of these ripples, Rockstar has remained conspicuously silent on the matter. The lack of an official response to the turmoil has further fueled the community's ire. The game, despite selling over 180 million copies, is grappling with revenue losses, polemic updates, and game-breaking exploits, making the need for a steady hand on the helm all the more pressing.

GTA V is currently the second-best-selling video game in history.

The removal of these vehicles and the subsequent addition of a paywall is a stark departure from Rockstar's traditionally inclusive approach with GTA. What remains to be seen is how Rockstar navigates this stormy sea of controversy and its impact on the much-anticipated release of GTA 6, potentially slated for a release sometime next year.


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  1. I think they intended on deleting some entirely but also wanted to throw others, the more popular ones, behind the paywall.

    It is a crappy thing to do without notice. I am guessing we will see most of them return at least through the lucky wheel. Sucks I seldom win the car though lol

  2. @FragMaster2000,
    They removed too many though. Like no one was complaining there were too many options in the game. Look how many different cars and such there is in real life!

  3. I heard that some of them will be offered in the Vinewood club, others will be part of Lucky Wheel prizes, the remainder will be axed completely. No telling what will be kept though at this point.

  4. Yes, it would appear they did.

    Like I get it, they want to make money from GTA+ but most people that planned on getting it or already have it is about all you are going to get. This is not going to sway players that don't want it to get it. Sorry.

  5. This was a bad move. I don't care what their reasoning was for it. It is clear this was about money and them being plain lazy. I get wanting to revamp the marketplace in the game but this is not how you do it. They should have told people about it prior to just removing them.

Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 173

"Hmm.. nice bike," as soon as he heard those words, Ray was hooked into the world of the GTA games. Since then, he's spent countless hours gangbanging the ballas and hanging out with Roman. He insists that GTA IV is the best Grand Theft Auto title of all time. Let Ray know your thoughts on Twitter or LinkedIn.