Los Santos is supposed to be a criminals' paradise, a place where the right crew, the right weapons and the right vehicles let you unlock as much money as you can earn. But a plague of hacking is clogging GTA Online's in-game economy with billions -- maybe even trillions -- of dirty dollars.
Most of GTA Online's initial launch woes have been resolved and a big make-good has rolled out but players say that a networking exploit that opens the door to earning infinite amounts of cash is ruining the multiplayer portion of Rockstar's hit game.
The complaints are everywhere. On Facebook, Reddit, Rockstar's support forums and other sites, users are sharing stories of how random players are suddenly bestowing them with six- and seven-figure sums or placing bounties on their heads or with similarly inflated amounts.
The problem? Rockstar's said that holding obscene amounts of money could be a flag in their regular sweeps to ban cheating players. This has left victimized players afraid, since giving away the too-much-to-spend windfall is a scary proposition that raise suspicions on those who want to avoid a ban or play clean. Another side-effect scenario has had targets with a bounty in millions of dollars constantly on the run or sitting in their apartments waiting for the bounty to time out, though this seems to be less prevalent.
Details of the networking hack enabling the vast piles of GTA Online cash have been spreading over YouTube as well as various online forums and sub-Reddits. And the flow of ill-gotten money hasn't been stopped by the latest 1.08 patch for GTA Online. One way to dodge the unwanted gifting is to do a hard reset of your console so the extra money doesn't save. From one Twitter user:
Fifth hard reset of my ps3, don't want the billions hackers keep handing out and don't want to get banned
Without the motivation to earn money as a reward for what they've accomplished in the online version of Los Santos, affected players say that they've lost their taste for the game. Others are calling for Rockstar to close the exploit and implement a global reset that knocks all players back to a base level of XP and cash.
There's some irony here, since the GTA series has been all about the exploits of characters who break society's rules. Until there's a fix for the infinite money problem, though, the rules-breakers of GTA will be making their victims very unhappy with the burden of unasked-for riches. Kotaku has reached out Rockstar for comment and will update this story if they respond.