Rockstar Is Expecting GTA Online To Be A Bit Rough At Launch

Rockstar Is Expecting GTA Online To Be A Bit Rough At Launch

Rockstar has just dumped an armoured-truckload of info about Grand Theft Auto Online, confirming in-game microtransactions and cautioning that the first few weeks might not be all that smooth for the upcoming multiplayer service, which launches on October 1.

When GTA Online launches, you'll be able to explore the world and rob stores with up to 15 friends per game, take missions and jobs as a team, and do all sorts of other recreational activities: sports, races, etc. You can create your own personal avatar to use in Los Santos -- male or female.

There are also four upcoming free updates that will add extra content to the online game, including multiplayer bank heists (!) and a content creator.

GTA Online comes free with all copies of GTA V, which has sold roughly a bazillion copies since it launched last week. Perhaps that's why Rockstar wants to warn us that things won't be so smooth when multiplayer goes live (emphasis mine):

There will be the typical growing pains for an online game, including but not limited to crashes, glitches, crazy bugs, gameplay modes and mechanics that need re-balancing and other surprises! Even in GTAV Story Mode, some of you may have seen a few odd and even amusing little glitches out there last week. This sort of thing is inevitable in a massive open-world game and there'll surely be lots more unexpected oddities like this in the Online world next week -- rest assured we'll be monitoring and actively doing all we can to smooth such things out as they happen, but we need your help to find them, as well as your feedback to help fine tune all of the game's systems so everything is perfectly balanced.

Rockstar also confirmed what had been rumoured previously -- there will be microtransactions online. In other words, you'll be able to spend real cash on in-game cash:

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 armoured cars, winning street races, doing stick-ups or a host of other cash-making endeavours -- 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.

Although some gamers might be turned off by the thought of other players being able to pay for advantages in the game, bear in mind that you can choose just to play with people you know, and if you so choose, you can all agree not to use microtransactions at all.

Rockstar says they want your feedback, too. They've opened up an e-mail address just for GTA Online help and suggestions: [email protected]

"We are planning for a constant stream of new content, tweaks and updates in the weeks and months ahead," Rockstar writes. "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!"

The company also detailed some free updates they've got planned for the online service:

Currently Planned GTA Online Content Updates: Here is a quick overview of a few initial things we're working on for the first few weeks of Grand Theft Auto Online, alongside an aggressive period of tuning and finessing the game. We will give you dates for all of this content as soon as we have them -- bear in mind that the order of things may well change, and we will probably add some extra stuff as well!

The Content Creator: The Content Creator will launch with tools to tailor and publish your own Deathmatches & Races.

The Beach Bum Pack: Featuring 4 new amazing beach fun vehicles, over 300 new items of incredible down tempo leisure wear and 2 new but not remotely relaxing weapons.

Capture the Flag: GTA Online's take on the classic CTF mode including the ability to make your own using The Content Creator.

Heists: This update will introduce full-on cooperative Heist missions that will require careful planning, teamwork and sharp execution -- along with the Heist Planning Board for your apartment.

The thought of getting together and doing full heists with friends online sure does sound incredible. This will be something to watch.


    It'll definitely be rough if the post-release issues with Social Club are anything to go on. I hope they're right about the financial balance being intended for people who don't use micro transactions to get extra money. It'll be frustrating for everyone if they don't strike the right balance.

    Seriously considering becoming an XBL Gold member again just for this...

      Same. At least for a few months :)

        Why? So you can experience the shitty gameplay. PS puts xbox to shame always has always will. this whole PS xbox hate is just jealous xbox fans just trying to stay relevant.

      And join an aussie xbox crew at

      Totally. And Dark Souls II in March next year.

    CTF - that's all I need to know - I give it one week after the content creator comes out for someone to cook up their own version of 2Fort - and I will play it to death!

    Glad i got the PS3 version, means i dont need to buy an XBL Gold sub.

    Hopefully the match making is good.

    I hate microtransactions but found it in my heart to make an exception for ME3’s MP. I think I’ll probably end up doing the same for this.

    Pfft, I don't think I paid enough for GTAV, so microtransactions are ok in this regard.

    This is going to be so much fun. I've avoided online gaming for several years, but I can see myself getting sucked into this one big time. I love the idea that you can set up your own races and make your own deathmatches and CTF... It should provide endless amounts of fun.

    I'm thinking it's time to increase my friends list, so if there are any Aussie players who are looking to play send me a friend request on PSN to : xxRyan

    I never expect a smooth launch going into anything online. Reckoning it'll be worth it though.

    All things considered this is bullshit really. They delayed the launch of the online portion of the game by two weeks. They've since made a billion dollars and I'm pretty sure they would have a fair idea of how many of those purchases would connect online by using social club data etc.

    With all the data at their disposal I can't see any valid excuse as to why the launch shouldn't be smooth. This just reeks of the lazy fix it in post mentality that devs get away with constantly...

    Last edited 26/09/13 10:43 am

      The launch was probably delayed for marketing reasons. To leave time for people to finish single player, enjoy the story, learn the game and then complete all that before getting into some MP mayhem.

      I personally think it was a great approach as it gives me something good to look forward to.

      Because of how awesome the game is and the insane amount of detail that's gone into this huge open world, I think we should cut these guys some slack.

      I'm actually surprised at how few issues I've come across so far (I can count them on one hand) and I've spent over 40 hours in the game world getting up to all sorts of stuff.

        I’m not disputing how awesome the game is. What I am disputing is the lack of preparedness going into the online portion of the game. Devs get way too much slack these days and your admission of such only promotes this culture in game development.

          Did anyone really expect that it was going to sell more than anything ever?

          Can't really blame them too much for being unprepared...

      Don't you think people will stop playing if there are issues with it? An online game, especially Rockstar will be trying to release it as good as it can be, but it must be hard. People have such a ridiculous concept of what a game should be these days, it seems impossible to get it to an acceptable level. Games always used to be rife with bugs but that was just expected.

      1. They announced the online portion of the game would be delayed well in advance
      2. Connects online =/= play multiplayer
      3. billion dollars in sales =/= made a billion dollars
      4. Get over it. They're being honest and open rather than over-promising.

        R* shill?

        Last edited 26/09/13 2:19 pm

          For one, it's spelt shill.

          two, if your response to criticism is to accuse others of being one then you need to get a life.

            Let me fix that for you. Pardon my big thumb on a touch device. You feel better now that you've got that off your chest? I'm so sorry if I've tread on your delicate feelings towards the game that you obviously love so much. There there...

        Yeah, they're doing the right thing and telling people that there will be problems rather than ignoring their fanbase. It's to be expected, but it's nice that they tell us beforehand.

          And the last thing they want is to be Sim City.

            What game is that? Oh, you mean that stinking pile of shit that EA try to pass off as a game rather than another money grabbing scheme?


        Also I had a drunken rant on the weekend to a friend saying how smart it was of R* not to have online available at launch.
        I see it as them trying to gauge what they're in for so that when it does release it isnt a complete mess like..I dont know...most massive online games, ever.
        Lucky they did because $1 billion in 3 days....thats a lot of peeps looking to get up to no good online.

        My friend then told me to he doesnt care and stop gushing.


        Last edited 26/09/13 3:04 pm

      So because "CyclonLogicBomb" can't see a valid excuse, let's go crucify a company for a less-then-smooth launch because he says you should know everything! Hey! Everyone! "CyclonLogicBomb" reads minds and says all devs that implement patches do it because they're lazy! "CyclonLogicBomb" says none of you have valid exuses! What say you game developers?


      Thought so.

        Wow! Really? I don't even no where to begin with your ignorance and banality. I'm gunna leave you be...You've earned it.

    Ugh, GTA4 online was really rough at launch, and still rough 1-2 months later. Because of that takeup was crap and I could only ever find Asian and American matches to join where I had awful pings. Hope GTA5 doesn't end up the same.

    Man what the hell happened to releasing your whole game when you release a game?

      I don't mind a staggered release. Means we get the SP content earlier. Getting it all at once just means the SP would have been delayed. Also, the SP can serve as a beta of-sorts for the Online component, where bugs in the open world can be ironed out at the last minute.

      Last edited 26/09/13 2:21 pm

        I'm pretty patient. I can wait for whatever games' major features to be finished before release, I prefer it that way. Maybe other don't want to wait but IMO I think a complete product improves brand value.

    I think what's most important to remember about this is they have absolutely NO idea who's going to play it online and who's not going to. Usage stats are only after the fact for sales data, it's not like people had to register online for beta sign-ups like a MMO or something (which even then doesn't give any idea whatsoever about day one 'I wasn't going to buy it but I've succumbed to the hype' impulse sales).

    No kidding it's going to be rough. It'll be much, much more than they were expecting, I'd say. Also, the important thing to remember about supporting a large population is that it is NOT as simple as, "OMG, just buy more servers and plug them in, duh!" Architecture to support 1 million players is going to be very different to architecture to support 10 million and is NOT just a case of adding more hardware.

    Yeah. Anyone who knows anything about network and database maintenance knows this is going to be rough.

      I'm sure as hell glad it's not my job.

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