Grand Theft Auto 5's PC Delay and MMO Potential

Posted Fri, Sep 20, 2013 by Xerin

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Will Grand Theft Auto V become available on the PC and is there a chance that Grand Theft Auto Online for the PC will be an MMO? Let's take a look.

Those of us in the MMO industry love to theorize things, especially when major AAA game launches happen like Grand Theft Auto 5. Open world sandboxes like GTA 5 allow players to openly explore the world and sort of pick their own adventure, something the MMO industry emulates to a degree with games like The Secret World. Games like All Points Bulletin give the illusion of following the GTA open world sandbox mechanic, but use clever UI tricks to copy the artistic style more so than the gameplay.

The interesting thing about GTA 5 is that there is no PC launch, nor is there any record of one ever appearing. Major gaming news outlets have been working desperately to get a release date out of Rockstar and so far there is nothing but some PC preorders popping up on various versions of Amazon at random. What corrolation does this have to MMOs? Well…

There is a small chance that GTA 5 may release to the PC in MMO form. Right now, GTA 5 comes with a neat second version of the game called GTA Online which opens up in October. It uses the same world and engine as GTA 5, but allows up to 16 (or 32 depending on who you talk to) players to play a persistent version of GTA 5.

Hrm, persistent. Where have we heard that before? Oh, that’s right, the definition of an MMO to many people is a massively multiplayer online game that incorporate a persistent world, ala World of Warcraft. If Rockstar is building out an engine that allows 16 to 32 players to play online persistently and they are delaying the PC launch, which is inevitable, then what kind of conclusion can we make?


Is it possible that they’re looking at making an actual MMO version of GTA 5 due to the delay on releasing to the PC? I think so, I really do. I think there are two options going on here. The first is that the PC delay is because they want a second wind in marketing. They delay the PC version until either the holidays or into next year and get a second round to promote their game throughout the media.

The other alternative is that GTA 5 and GTA Online is leading into an MMO version of GTA. It could work out that purchasing GTA 5 allows you access to a large persistent version of GTA or it could be its very own spin off, either way the chances are there.

Why do you ask? Well, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the chance to charge micropayments and with the GTA Online system incorporating custom character creation / vehicle modification / etc. there is a wide open world for charging players for services. It might not even be super huge persistent worlds. Maybe it’ll be like APB with 100 players to a map and that might be what the delay is, there will be multiple copies of the world and you’ll switch channels or servers between them, but on a much larger scale than the consoles. Instead of 16 maybe it’ll be 100 players or 1000 players per map.

Then again, the delay of GTA 5 for the PC could just come down to marketing and I might be a raving lunatic for thinking otherwise. Delaying the PC release just means that they get a second round of reviews and hype for the game, which synergies well once the console game takes a hit in its price around the holidays.

I do have hope though that at some point we will get a GTA like experience wrapped up in an MMO. APB is nowhere near a true GTA experience, it’s simply a capture the flag / king of the hill style third person shooter that allows multiple games to go on during the same map. I’d actually compare TSW to GTA far quicker then I would APB. In TSW you basically walk around taking missions from whoever you want and do whatever you desire.

Do you think that GTA 5 will become a GTA MMO? Let us know in the comments section below.

GTA IV released in April 2008 for console and December 2008 for PC.
GTA San Andreas released in October 2004 on PS2 and June 2005 for PC & Xbox.
GTA Vice City released in October 2002 for PS2 and sometime in 2003 for PC & Xbox.
GTA III released in October 2001 for PS2 and May 2002 for PC.

Given that Rockstar has never released a core GTA title simultaneously on PC, why would we bother speculating as to why the latest installment isn't being released simultaneously either?

Mostly because they haven't bothered to give a date yet.

If you go a bit further back, you'll also note that GTA began as a PC franchise. The shift to consoles, and console-first releases didn't come until later.

As Xerin pointed out, the thing now is that they haven't even announced *anything* for PC yet, so there's plenty of room for speculation as to what form it might take, and why no announcements have been made.

The simple answer would be that it helps insure they don't dilute their install base on day one. Otherwise, the game would have been held until November and been a launch title for the new consoles.

Sometimes this stuff also boils down to business arrangements. When the first Mass Effect was released, it was a 360 exclusive and BioWare swore up and down that no PC release was planned. Sure enough, once the exclusivity clause in the contract expired, the PC release was announced and ME was out on PC 6 months after the console release.

I'm not saying that's the case here, but we've seen the board room-level decision making process and business arrangements directly impact platform release dates countless times since the shift towards creating behemoth franchises / series vs. just making good games for gamers.


Grand Theft Auto V made a huge splash following its release last week, and now more details have emerged for the upcoming release of GTA Online.

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Wed, Sep 25, 2013

Will Grand Theft Auto V become available on the PC and is there a chance that Grand Theft Auto Online for the PC will be an MMO? Let's take a look.

Features, Opinions
Fri, Sep 20, 2013

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