‘Grand Theft Auto V’: GTA Online Feature Shows How To Treat Consumers Right

This week’s Grand Theft Auto V release on PC hasn’t been without issues, but the game is without a doubt one of the finest examples of modern video game design. One of the key factors is Rockstar’s impeccable attention to detail in the worlds they create, as well as the real-life influences that cause players to wonder whether they were laughing at a joke from the devs, or real-life itself.

GTA Online is an example of how Rockstar has given value for the consumer’s dollar. GTA Online is a stand-alone, MMO version of Los Santos for Grand Theft Auto, and it adds a whole new element to the gameplay. Instead of following the escapades of Trevor, Michael, and Franklin, you create your own avatar to terrorize or police the streets of Los Santos with other players. You can take part in heists (after a long delay for console users), run jobs for other characters in the world, or simply explore, such as mountain biking from Vespucci Beach to the summit of Mt. Chiliad. Grand Theft Auto Online doesn’t throw any roadblocks in your way.

It begs the question: How could Rockstar give away such an enormous undertaking with the base game? Where is the money to be made? GTA Online is an example of a game developer making sure the end-consumer gets the most bang-for-their-buck, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Grand Theft Auto studio is already lauded as one of the most talented and consumer friendly studios around, and this just bolsters that reputation.

There are ways for Rockstar to milk money from consumers online, which if the idea was to give away a whole second game if only to sell in-game cash, I’m all for that. They deserve to be paid for their efforts, and the way Rockstar sells their in-game dollars in Grand Theft Auto Online is a template other MMO-devs should look at. The whole process is not obtrusive. I wasn’t even aware you could buy in-game currency until a situation arose that required me to have money on my character and not in the bank. You’re not being accosted at every turn to buy money, but Grand Theft Auto reminds you that it’s there when you need it.

If you’re playing Grand Theft Auto for the first time, or have played it since the initial launch, you owe it to yourself to try out GTA Online. Play in passive mode to avoid being killed by random players, or hop in a group with some friends and live out your Top Gun fantasies. Either way, be thankful that GTA Online was free with Grand Theft Auto V, though it certainly didn’t need to be.

[Image via Rockstar Games]