Today at noon Rockstar Games is launching “Grand Theft Auto Online”, according to an Oct 1 report in The Guardian. “Grand Theft Auto Online” is the online multiplayer mode of the very successful “Grand Theft Auto” franchise.
Every gamer knows that “Grand Theft Auto Online” is going to be a huge hit, reports a Sept 30 article in PCMag. Last month Rockstar Games sold 15 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” after it was released last month, making it the most popular game of the year (according to units sold). “Grand Theft Auto 5” is the newest incineration in the “Grand Theft Auto” series.
So the question that gamers are asking is not, is “Grand Theft Auto Online” going to be a hit, but rather, will Rockstar Games' servers be able to handle the volume of players? Or, will it crash like Electronic Arts' “Sim City” did a few months ago?
“Grand Theft Auto Online” boasts more than 500 missions and fun activities in the dynamic, open city of Los Santos. Up to 16 players per server join gangs, engage in crime, races, sports, jobs and basically whatever is necessary to build cash flow and earn Reputation Points—all so players can unlock new cars and weapons in a constant cycle of chaos.
While each server is limited to 16 players, the economy and stock market of Los Santos functions based on what every player around the globe spends and earns. How cool is that!
“Grand Theft Auto Online” can be accessed for free, but is not an independent game in the GTA franchise. In order to play you must have purchased “Grand Theft Auto 5” ($59.99 for PlayStation or Xbox at GameStop, for example.). Although players can just use their virtual money to pay for purchases of weapons, cars, clothes and other ware, players have the option to buy demotions of GTA$ to speed up wealth accumulation (especially useful if you're into instant gratification!) . Players cannot transfer their virtual money between Web mode and Story mode.
Rockstar Games has done extensive pre-release testing and network load tests, among others, to try to ensure that “Grand Theft Auto Online” runs without too many hitches and slowdowns. But no developer can be sure that their online game will run smoothly and as expected. Electronic Arts, for example, thought that it was prepared when it launched “Sim City” online-- only to discover that many online players were having bad experiences partly because they didn't play the way Electronic Arts' Beta testers did.
What is your experience with “Grand Theft Auto Online”?