Grand Theft Auto Online

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Grand Theft Auto Online
Grand Theft Auto Online.jpg
Developer(s) Rockstar North
Publisher(s) Rockstar Games
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Director(s) Leslie Benzies
Producer(s) Andy Duthie
Designer(s) Leslie Benzies
Programmer(s) Adam Fowler
Artist(s) Aaron Garbut
Composer(s) Tangerine Dream
Woody Jackson
The Alchemist
Oh No
Series Grand Theft Auto
Engine RAGE, with Euphoria and Bullet Physics
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s) PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
1 October 2013
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
18 November 2014
Microsoft Windows
27 January 2015
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Online multiplayer

Grand Theft Auto Online is a persistent, open world online multiplayer video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 1 October 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and will be released on 18 November 2014 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a Microsoft Windows version on 27 January 2015. The game is the online multiplayer mode for Grand Theft Auto V. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas (based on Southern California), Grand Theft Auto Online allows up to 30 (16 on PS3 and X360 versions) and explore the open world and engage in cooperative or competitive game matches. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas, which includes open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos (based on Los Angeles).

Developed in tandem with the single-player mode, Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience, to be played in a continually evolving world. At release, it received generally positive reviews, with praise particularly directed at the scope and open-ended gameplay. Critics were polarised by the widespread technical issues at launch, which resulted in the inability to play missions, and loss of character data. It won divided year-end accolades, ranging from Biggest Disappointment to Best Multiplayer, from several gaming publications. The game also receives frequent updates which are available for free.


In Grand Theft Auto Online, players create a new character specific to the online world, which shows on the screen's Switch Wheel alongside single-player characters Franklin, Michael, and Trevor.[1] The player-characters are designed by a genetics-related process.[2] Greater control is given to the character's clothes and hairstyles. The mute player-character online avatar arrives in Los Santos by plane and is picked up by Lamar Davis, who gives the character a gun and a car. The player earns money by playing and can unlock more guns and missions. An hour-long tutorial introduces the player to the various game modes, driving, fighting, and game progression mechanics. The story is not central in the multiplayer, though characters from the single-player are woven in.[2]

Aside from the open world, there are three main types of set activities: racing (by car, bike, air or boat), Deathmatch (team or free-for-all), and objective-based Missions (simplified single-player-like missions, usually cooperative). Online uses lock-on aim and emphasises stealth in firefights. Levelling up lets players buy more guns and cars and unlocks more activities, such as parachuting and aircraft. Once unlocked, items need to be purchased with in-game currency, which can be earned or purchased with real money. Money can also be used to buy car customizations. Players can circumvent an activity's level requirements by joining a game with others of a sufficient rank. The matchmaking is set to not mix players of high level differentials. There are options to play alone or with friends, and an option for "Passive Mode", which makes the player semi-immune to other players.[2]

The game includes a content creation tool that lets players make automobile races and deathmatches.[1] Players can choose the location, start and spawn points, and weapon and vehicle drops in deathmatches, and the location, route, race type, and player count in air, land, or sea races. Creations have to be tested against computer-controlled players before the mode is available online. The creations can also be published for others to use. Rockstar tags what they deem to be the best as "Rockstar Verified".[3]


Developed in tandem with Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience to be played in a continually evolving world[4] where up to 16 players freely roam across a recreation of the single-player world.[5] Within the world, players enter lobbies to complete Jobs (story-driven competitive and cooperative modes). The Content Creator toolset lets players create their own parameters for custom jobs, like racetracks and deathmatch weapon spawn points.[6] Players may band together in organised player teams called crews to complete Jobs together. Rockstar Games Social Club extends crews formed in Max Payne 3's multiplayer mode to Grand Theft Auto Online's. Players can create their own crews and join up to five total. Crews win multiplayer matches to earn experience points and climb online leaderboards.[7]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (X360) 82%[8][a]
Metacritic (PS3) 83/100[10]
(X360) 80/100[11]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 7/10 (8 October 2013)[12]
GameSpot 6/10 (5 May 2014)[13]
7/10 (11 October 2013)[14] 9/10 (25 October 2013)[15]
Digital Spy 3/5 stars (17 October 2013)[16]
GRY-OnLine 7.5/10 (11 October 2013)[17]
Cheat Code Central 3.8/5 (3 October 2013)[18]

Grand Theft Auto Online launched on 1 October 2013, two weeks after the release of Grand Theft Auto V.[19] Shortly thereafter, many players reported that they had difficulties connecting to the game's servers and the Social Club service, and others further reported that the game would freeze during load screens for early missions.[20][21] Rockstar released a technical patch on 5 October in an effort to resolve the issues.[22] The microtransaction system, which allows players to purchase game content using real money, was also suspended as a fail-safe.[23] Problems persisted during the second week of launch, as some players reported progress for their characters disappearing.[24] Another technical patch was released on 10 October combating the issues, with advice administered to players experiencing the issues to not create their multiplayer avatars again.[25] As compensation to players for the technical issues, a stimulus of GTA $500,000, an in-game currency, was funded to the accounts of all players connected to the mode since launch.[26]

Because of the widespread technical issues present at launch, many reviewers bemoaned their experience with Grand Theft Auto Online.[14][17] Chris Carter of Destructoid criticised the "messy launch" and felt that Rockstar should have delayed it.[12] Keza MacDonald considered her initial play sessions in Grand Theft Auto Online "disastrous".[27] Liam Martin of Digital Spy reported glitches including loss of his character data, and, while generally praising the scope of the experience, considered Grand Theft Auto Online underwhelming as it was beholden to pre-launch anticipation let down by its technical issues.[16] The character creation system was panned by critics, who felt that the system only produced unattractive avatars.[12][16][17][27] MacDonald noted an "addictive rhythm" to character progression and was enthusiastic to some of the jobs, but felt that most eventually became monotonous to play.[27] Petit agreed with MacDonald's sentiment, writing that "early on, your mission options are dominated by bland last team standing deathmatches".[14] However, reviewers generally recognised the open-ended exploration and dynamic content as Grand Theft Auto Online's strength;[14][16][27] Jon Denton of was particularly enthusiastic, writing that the "endlessness" of the gameplay made up for the technical issues.[15]

Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar's parent company, stated that by February 2014, 70 percent of Grand Theft Auto V players with Internet access had played Grand Theft Auto Online, and that the game's microtransactions system was the largest contributor to the company's digital revenue since Grand Theft Auto Online's launch.[28]


  1. ^ GameRankings's aggregate score applies to the Xbox 360 version. A separate score of 76% for the PlayStation 3 version is based on one review.[9]
  1. ^ a b Yoon, Andrew (15 August 2013). "Why does Grand Theft Auto Online launch two weeks after GTA5?". Shacknews. GameFly. Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c MacDonald, Keza (22 October 2013). "Grand Theft Auto Online Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Reed, Chris (11 December 2013). "Grand Theft Auto V Gets Deathmatch and Race Creator Update". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Weaver, Tim (16 August 2013). "Interview: Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies on GTA Online and GTA V". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Dawkins, Daniel (15 August 2013). "GTA Online first look: Rockstar's persistent online world is its most ambitious project in years". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  6. ^ McInnis, Shaun (16 August 2013). "Why Grand Theft Auto Online is Crazy Enough to Work". Gamespot. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Krupa, Daniel (22 March 2012). "Max Payne 3: Rockstar's Multiplayer Reinvention". IGN. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Grand Theft Auto Online for Xbox 360". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Grand Theft Auto Online for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Grand Theft Auto Online for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Grand Theft Auto Online for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Chris Carter (October 8, 2013). "Review: Grand Theft Auto Online". Destructoid. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  13. ^ Petit, Carolyn (5 May 2013). "Grand Theft Auto Online Updated Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c d Petit, Carolyn (11 October 2013). "Grand Theft Auto Online Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Denton, Jon (25 October 2013). "GTA Online Review". Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d Martin, Liam (17 October 2013). "'GTA Online' review (Xbox 360): Full of untapped potential". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Antares (11 October 2013). "Recenzja gry Grand Theft Auto Online - multiplayer z potencjałem" [Review of Grand Theft Auto Online - multiplayer with potential] (in Polish). GRY-OnLine. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Joshua Bruce (October 3, 2013). "A Fun but Buggy GTA". Cheat Code Central. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  19. ^ Dyer, Mitch (30 September 2013). "When Can We Start Playing GTA Online". IGN. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Karmali, Luke (4 October 2013). "GTA Online Launch Issues – Rockstar Speaks". IGN. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  21. ^ Sarkar, Samit (1 October 2013). "GTA Online now live, Rockstar looking into server issues (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  22. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (6 October 2013). "GTA Online connection issues resolved, lost items still being investigated". Polygon. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  23. ^ Stuart, Keith (4 October 2013). "GTA V Online: Rockstar launches update to fix PS3 problems". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Scammell, David (7 October 2013). "GTA Online: Rockstar investigating missing characters, progress and money". Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Karmali, Luke (10 October 2013). "GTA Online Deleted Character Fix Released by Rockstar". IGN. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  26. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (7 November 2013). "GTA Online's stimulus package is live". Eurogamer. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  27. ^ a b c d MacDonald, Keza (22 October 2013). "Grand Theft Auto Online Review". IGN. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  28. ^ Dring, Christopher (3 February 2014). "70% of GTA V gamers have played GTA Online". MCV. Retrieved 16 March 2014.