Rockstar Details GTA Online Launch, Reveals Microtransactions


Rockstar dropped a big GTA Online update today on its official website. Part thank-you note, part hype machine, part feature list, the post has something for everyone.

GTA Online is gonna be huge, y’all. Like, even huger than Rockstar thought it would be. The company is “working around the clock to buy and add more servers” to cope with the “unanticipated additional pressure on the servers due to a significantly higher number of players than we were anticipating at this point.”

Why are companies always surprised by this kind of thing? Diablo III. Sim City. Grand Theft Auto V. Millions of people want to play these games, guys! I think publicists just write self-deprecating stuff in press releases to cover up for the fact that their clients were unprepared.

So we can expect some glitches, as Rockstar freely admits:

“The first couple of weeks we expect to be heavily focused on tuning the experience as it goes from internal testing to the reality of being played by tons of people in the real world so that all the usual teething problems for an online game are overcome. We hope it will all run incredibly smoothly, but please bear with us if it doesn’t, and help us fix any and all problems!”

At least they make the mechanism for bug reporting very clear, which is nice.

Later, the post arrives at the the exciting stuff: the game modes, the constant content upgrades, the user-generated mayhem on steroids. Attractions include: Races, Jobs, Sports, Open-World Crime and Chaos, and more. In coming weeks, we can look forward to the prospect of more extensive content-creation tools, heist missions, and Capture the Flag. And “over 300 new items of incredible down-tempo leisure wear,” if you’re headed to the beach.

The details of the microtransaction system are of particular interest. Confirmed earlier today by Eurogamer, the system will allow players to spend real-world cash to rack up GTA$, the in-game bucks. Rockstar’s explanation is worth quoting in full:

“Reputation and Cash Flow: Reputation is earned from all your online exploits in everything you do in GTA Online – and will help you rank up, providing access to new features, weapons and criminal contacts. Spend cash you’ve gained on cars, clothes, guns, properties and much more. You can either quickly accumulate cash through profitable activities like knocking over armored cars, winning street races, doing stick-ups or a host of other cash-making endeavors – or if you’re the completely instant gratification type, you can choose to buy denominations of GTA$. You will have the option to purchase GTA$ through the in-game Store. The game and its economy have been designed and balanced for the vast majority of players who will not buy extra cash. There is no in-game paywall and nothing that should disrupt the balance of the game. You don’t have to spend real money to attain the cars, guns, clothes, flash and style of a high-roller in Los Santos, but can if you wish to get them a little quicker. The economy is balanced differently from the single player economy, and cash earned in one cannot be taken over to the other. Most players will earn cash much faster Online than in Story Mode.”

The “flash and style of a high-roller” is one thing, but what about a Walter White-style plastic barrel full of hundreds? Rockstar makes the possibilities for GTA Online seem practically limitless. Leave a comment and tell us the first thing you’re going to do when it goes live.

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