Games

GTA Online Cuts Off Last-Gen Console Users

Very few games in recent history have lasted for as long as GTA V. It was released in September 2013 – almost eight years ago – and it remains the current version of the game. Amazingly, even though two generations of consoles have been released since then, we still don’t know when GTA VI will be released. The game has become the gift that keeps on giving for Rockstar Games, and as long as they can still make money from it, they seem to be satisfied to keep it up and running. It’s not so much the original game that keeps players around now, though, as the online element. That’s about to change for some players.

Cross-generational support was a big part of GTA Online’s appeal. You could play GTA Online on the PS3 and Xbox 360 – both of which were still considered “current” when the game was released – but you could also play it on the PS4 and Xbox One. Nowadays, you can also play it on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Either Rockstar thinks that having three generations of players on its servers is too much, or it has something else up its sleeve – because PS3 and Xbox 360 users are about to be cut off. Sales of “add on” services for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of GTS Online will end in September, and Rockstar will permanently withdraw all support at the beginning of December. After that point, players on those old consoles will no longer be able to get online.

In practice, this probably won’t affect many people. The consoles in question are now two generations old. Those which haven’t broken have probably been replaced by newer machines, even if those machines are PS4s and Xbox Ones. Although statistics aren’t available, it’s hard to imagine that there are any more than a few hundred people around the world playing the game on such antiquated hardware. The decision to cut them off isn’t what makes this newsworthy. What’s exciting players is the idea that Rockstar might be moving devs away from this aspect of the game so they can start work on GTA VI.

Before anyone gets too excited about that idea, we suspect that any such hopes are wide of the mark. GTA VI isn’t the only Grand Theft Auto product that Rockstar is working on at the moment – if they’re even working on it at all. There’s also the not-inconsiderable matter of a new-generation optimized version of GTA V scheduled for release in November this year. Although there are various rumours and alleged leaks online, nobody outside of Rockstar truly knows what the optimized version will look like. It’s safe to assume that there will be an overhaul of graphics and sound, but there are also whispers of new platform-exclusive downloadable content and an enhanced online experience. The creation of this new online experience might be what makes it necessary to cut off the stragglers from two generations ago.

Although GTA V is the most profitable video game of all time, the majority of its profits have come from the online mode. That’s despite the fact that it’s sometimes run into trouble. Back in 2019, Rockstar launched a new in-game “Diamond Casino” feature. Unwittingly, they fell afoul of countries and territories where online slots websites are banned. The controversy was more than a little strange. Although the games available within the casino were simulations of casino games and online slots, and “real” money couldn’t be won from them, some regulators were unhappy that real-world money could still be used to buy chips for them. The net result was that if you lived in an area where online slots websites like Rose Slots Canada

were banned, you’d also be banned from entry to the GTA casino. That forced Rockstar to make urgent changes to the game to avoid the risk of full censorship or bans, which cost them money. The subsequent loss would have been devastating for most games and most gaming companies, but GTA V has been such a success that Rockstar was able to soak up the problem without breaking stride.

We know that many of the people reading this article would be far more interested in news about GTA VI than they are about yet another development in the long-running GTA V saga. We wish we had something to tell you, but information is scant. If you’d like a few rumours, here’s what we’ve heard. A Reddit user who has a reasonable record of getting GTA leaks right in the past has claimed that the game will be set in the 1970s and will take place in a hyper-realistic recreation of the Miami of the era rather than a fictional location. We’ve also heard that the “chaptered story” approach that worked so well in Red Dead Redemption 2 has been adapted for the new game. Some of this could be true, or perhaps none of it is true at all. In any event, it doesn’t look likely that we’ll have anything to look at soon. The same leaker who claims the game will be set in the 1970s also claims that the sequel isn’t scheduled for release until 2023. By that point, GTA V will be a full ten years old. We doubt that was the plan when the game was released.

GTA V has more than earned its place in video gaming history, but it’s slowly becoming history before our eyes. The cutoff of PS3 and Xbox 360 players is the first step in what looks likely to be a long, slow process of saying goodbye. It’s had a great run, but it has fewer years ahead of it than it has behind it. Before it goes, though, we have one more opportunity to see it with new eyes when the enhanced version is released later this year. If the suggestion that new single-player DLC might be made available as part of the package is correct, that makes it even better. No game in history has survived through three generations of consoles before, but then again, no other game in history has been as successful as GTA V. Its eventual sequel will have a very high benchmark to be measured against when it arrives – but something tells us that it will do just fine.

Barry Lachey

Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources "Joe Joe." he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.

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