Downloading GTA V for free on PC via the Epic Games Store has exposed some of the problems in the Rockstar game. Was it such a good idea?
That GTA V could be downloaded for free on PC for a week through the Epic Games Store has been one of the events of the year. We may not be talking about a new release, but Rockstar has struck a hand by distributing the second best-selling game of all time (more than 130 million copies worldwide) for free, a brilliant “sandbox” in story mode, and with a very active community in multiplayer.
A few weeks ago I advanced in another blog that it was a perfect test, which corroborated some of the leaks about what awaits us in GTA VI. In particular, the fact that it is a “smaller” game and designed as a “service game”. That is to say, that GTA Online, which appeared as an addition to the history of Michael, Trevor and Franklin, becomes the main nucleus (it is a phenomenon similar to what has happened with Call of Duty).
On paper, the move to download the game for free was perfect. And not just for users. I already anticipated that according to the Nielsen agency, GTA V exceeded $ 500 million in profit in 2019, mainly due to GTA Online microtransactions, and it is expected that the figure will grow even more with the wild increase in the number of players that it has occurred in recent weeks.
First was the collapse of the Rockstar Games launcher with the massive arrival of new users. This is something that not only hurts those who have downloaded it for free, but also affects players who had originally purchased it and who have been playing for several years. If allowing the free download of Grand Theft Auto V was a test to measure the capacity of the company’s servers, it is clear that “we need a bigger ship.”
The second problem has come from hackers. The attack first affected GTA Online, causing atypical glitches and behavior, such as the spontaneous appearance of objects in the air, the cages of NPCs and various traps. It didn’t take long for the forums to be filled with complaints from users. If you’ve played GTA Online for a while, amassed a small fortune, collected items, and landed a hit, this irregular activity is surely spoiling your experience.
We’ve reached a point where some call it unplayable, and that hurts the company and the reputation of the game. On the other hand, security vulnerabilities have been found that allowed hackers to also enter story mode (which requires permanent connection). The complaints are as varied as the “creativity” of these pirate users, and again they result in the appearance of objects (such as UFOs in the city of Los Santos or giant oranges that crush the population).
As this is a blog, I will try to be positive. I am sure that the solution to the security problems will come soon, and that it will serve to prevent similar failures with the next installment of the saga (or even in Red Dead Online, whose community is not so large). But surely in Rockstar they wonder if it has really been a good idea to give access to their work for free to such a number of players.