The question regarding “Grand Theft Auto VI” was not if it was going to be announced, but when. Considering that “Grand Theft Auto V” is the second biggest selling game of all time behind “Minecraft,” why WOULDN’T Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take Two Interactive try to follow it up? Would anyone expect Nintendo to stop making Pokémon games? Of course not. So let’s talk about this without focusing so much on the fact that GTA VI is coming and instead looking at why it has taken so long and what to possibly expect.
“Grand Theft Auto V” released back in 2013, meaning at the time of this writing it has been nearly nine years since a new original entry in the series has been released. This is by far, the longest stretch of time between releases the franchise has ever seen. Prior to this, the longest wait gamers had was the four years between GTA IV’s DLC and GTA V. Why the delay? More than likely because of Rockstar’s big money maker, “Grand Theft Auto Online.” Included for free with GTA V, the online version of the franchise reportedly nets Rockstar over $2.5 million a day in revenue. It’s free content upgrades, coupled with micro transactions and purchasing of in-game currency, have kept people coming back more and more.
If the idea of that many micro transactions scares you, let it be known that we did report earlier this year about Take-Two Interactive acquiring mobile juggernaut Zynga, which could easily help supplement their mobile and online features for GTA. All of this leads to the question of what is GTA VI going to look like in an environment in which GTA Online is so phenomenally profitable? (Also, employees who previously worked on the GTA titles are currently working at Zynga.)
The statement that Rockstar issued only confirms that development of GTA VI is “well underway.” Given how vague that is, there’s really nothing we can extrapolate from that. So let’s look instead at Rockstar’s latest endeavor prior to this, “Red Dead Redemption 2” and it’s accompanying “Red Dead Online.” The single-player experience was incredibly rich and in-depth but the online component didn’t really get the same amount of love and updates that GTA Online did. That’s not to say it’s a barebones outing, but Rockstar knew where the bread was being buttered, so to say.
Considering GTA V is getting a PS5 and Xbox Series X/S update in March, GTA VI is probably still a long way off. Does that mean by the time it arrives, Rockstar will be ready to upgrade to a GTA Online 2 based off a game engine used by GTA VI? Or would that cannibalize their original game and divide the player base? There’s a lot of valid questions to be asked.
And given how GTA V is reportedly the most profitable entertainment property of all time, Rockstar is probably not going to settle for GTA VI falling short of that. We’ll see how things materialize in the coming months, and probably years.