The Xbox Game Pass Twitter feed today posted news that was completely unexpected: Rockstar’s epic Grand Theft Auto V is now available on Game Pass. It’s another massive coup for the service too. For a game that’s one of the highest selling titles EVER (and continues to sell… I have both the 360 and Xbox One versions so worked for me!) it might seem like there’s little reason to go this route but I think there’s some great logic to the decision.
Even though the game has a sprawling campaign that I feel is always worth playing it’s the online component where GTAV gets the most traction now. With regular updates Grand Theft Auto Online continues to bring in players and make Rockstar/Take-Two a bundle of money. What its arrival on Game Pass does is give the publisher what could be considered a risk managed test of going free to play.
Think about it: they still get money from Microsoft for being on Game Pass but they also get to see if it brings in more online players willing to spend money on the in game cash cards and that’s where the GTAV makes its money now. Being able to play the game’s campaign is just a massive bonus for new players. In that respect you could say it’s similar to what Bungie have done with Destiny 2 going free to play but with the possibility of switching back if it doesn’t work out.
GTAV is only on Game Pass for console at the moment, which is good timing for anyone who may have found a new Xbox under their tree during the holidays, but if it catches on we may see Rockstar make plans for PC as well. Hard to tell if they’d consider releasing it for PC Game Pass too as they have their own game launcher but you never know… especially if it means getting extra money from Microsoft for the privilege.
What do you think? Smart move or not? Feel free to comment below.