The major focus Red Dead Redemption 2 is getting from the media, both among gaming and even non-gaming publications, has Red Dead fans excited while making GTA fans anxious. Sure, many fall into both categories, but the fact is, the majority of GTA Online’s players won’t be picking up Red Dead Redemption 2, or any other game besides the next Call of Duty for that matter – and therein lies the saving grace of GTA Online.
GTA 5 just recently broke the 75 million sales milestone, which doesn’t include digital sales, and hit the top of the sales charts for the third time just this year. The number of people still buying and playing the game is immense, and it would simply be really really stupid to cut content support for something that’s still so popular. Heck, gamers even return time and time again to the GTA 5’s story mode just to activate some cheats (you can view the PS4 cheats here) and run around on a rampage.
It’s not just popularity on its own, though, since RDR2 will pretty clearly be quite the hit as well, but it’s the different target audiences involved too. GTA Online’s main audience are the casual gamers, many of whom likely don’t know what a “Red Dead” is and don’t particularly care either. If Rockstar cuts content support for GTA Online assuming everyone will drop it and play Red Dead Online instead, they would lose the vast majority of their players.
There are a handful of other reasons why Rockstar won’t just entirely forget about GTA Online and focus solely on Red Dead Online. Even during its prime – which according to sales data might as well be right now – GTA Online wasn’t the only project in Rockstar’s pipeline. It’s easy to think of Rockstar as a single entity working on just one thing at a time since they’re “just” a developer subsidiary of a larger publisher. It’s true that usually, those devs that have a bigger publisher standing over them tend to be relatively small, and only ever work on one project at a time, but Rockstar is, in fact, a massive developer with several studios spread out across the globe.
See Gambody’s GTA5 Trevor 3D model here.
Rockstar North, which is the “main” Rockstar studio, handles everything related to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Rockstar San Diego is working on Red Dead Redemption 2 and has been doing so for years now, considering the autumn 2017 release date. All the other studios either help in with these projects, take care of non-development tasks or work on other mystery titles, of which we know at least one is currently under development.
So it’s not like the company doesn’t have the capacity to keep producing GTA Online updates next to supporting Red Dead Redemption 2, while also working on the pre-production phase of GTA 6 – because they’re undoubtedly doing that – as well as some unnamed, unannounced project. They also have the resources, since all those sales have brought in immense amounts of money, not to mention all the revenue coming from Shark Cards, the microtransactions available in GTA Online.
Keeping in mind that even now, GTA Online has more than 8 million unique log-ins each week, and Take-Two Interactive would be stupid to put it in the back seat. It’s obvious that the business model of the game works, as Rockstar themselves revealed that 2016 December was the busiest month of GTA Online ever in terms of players, and Shark Cards sales have only ever gone up and up. This is a steady source of income that is far from running its course, so it would be an insanely daft business decision to toss it in favor of a game that will never reach the same kind of popularity.
Let’s face it, Red Dead Redemption 2 may be getting hyped up, but it has no chance of superseding GTA 5. It doesn’t have the mainstream appeal or the long history that GTA has going for it, nor does it have the benefit of being released on 5 different platforms. Sure, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be undoubtedly popular when it releases, but you can all rest easy. It will take more than that to kill GTA Online.
About the Author
Michael enjoys gaming (obviously) and is currently completing an undergraduate degree in Communications at University. In his spare time, he also enjoys heading to the beach, surfing and taking photography with his drone. Post University, Michael intends to travel through Europe (a lifelong dream) and live in several different countries before beginning his career.