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Why GTA Online Still Lacks Cross-Play

by Lidia Lucovic

Since its initial release in 2013, Grand Theft Auto Online has gained immense popularity among the GTA fan base. However, players have long been frustrated by the absence of cross-play, preventing them from teaming up with friends on different platforms. Over the years, GTA Online has undergone various changes and continuous updates, such as the recent San Andreas Mercenaries expansion in June 2023. Despite the game’s enduring success, Rockstar Games has never officially provided a reason for the absence of cross-play features in GTA Online.

Currently, GTA Online is available on PC and multiple generations of Xbox and PlayStation consoles, including the latest Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. However, cross-play remains unsupported across all platforms, and the likelihood of its implementation in the future seems uncertain. It is unclear why Rockstar Games did not initially support cross-play for GTA Online. While cross-play features were less common in 2013 when the game was first released, they were not entirely unheard of. Nevertheless, Rockstar Games has developed a reputation for not embracing cross-play.

One significant obstacle hindering cross-play integration in GTA Online is the prevalence of mods on the PC version. Over time, numerous mods have been introduced, ranging from simple tweaks to elaborate modifications, enriching the overall gaming experience for PC players. However, accommodating cross-play between PC and other platforms would require the existence of separate modded and vanilla servers. Moreover, the compatibility of PC mods with console versions remains uncertain. Given the seven-year history of GTA Online and the complexities involved, it is likely that cross-play integration poses significant challenges, making it a less feasible option for Rockstar Games.

Rockstar’s Limited Enthusiasm for Cross-Play

GTA Online has proven to be a resounding success for Rockstar Games, and the absence of cross-play does not seem to have adversely affected its popularity. From a business perspective, investing time and resources to implement cross-play compatibility across all of GTA Online’s platforms may not be a prudent decision for Rockstar, considering the game’s already remarkable success without such a feature. Although many fans express a desire for cross-play support, it appears that, at least for the present, Rockstar does not see it as a priority.

More recently, despite ongoing rumors and requests from fans, Red Dead Online also did not incorporate cross-play support. In 2022, Rockstar Games announced the cessation of updates for Red Dead Online, putting an end to any potential for cross-play in the game. While GTA Online continues to receive regular updates, the possibility of integrating a cross-play feature remains open, although it seems unlikely in the immediate future. Fans may hold out hope for cross-play in the potential successor to GTA Online, possibly tied to the release of GTA 6, but it may be best not to expect it with great anticipation.

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