Despite releasing more than seven years ago, GTA Online is more popular than ever. Rockstar Games confirmed that 2020 set the record for the game’s player count, meaning more people played Grand Theft Auto Online in 2020 than any year before.
Grand Theft Auto Online’s popularity can be attributed to the steady stream of updates and new content that Rockstar continues to roll out. Last year saw the release of several updates that provided players with new vehicles and missions. The year ended with Grand Theft Auto Online’s biggest update to date, the El Cayo Perico Heist, which introduced a new location for players to explore, as well as new vehicles and a heist that can be completed solo or with friends.
It is no surprise, then, that 2020 saw Grand Theft Auto Online’s highest player count yet. Rockstar did not provide exact numbers, but their claim is supported by a Worldwide Digital Games Market analysis from Nielson research agency SuperData. The analysis found that Grand Theft Auto 5, which includes Grand Theft Auto Online, placed fourth in December 2020’s list of top-grossing console games. It is an impressive feat considering the game’s age and its competition, which included hot new titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
The analysis also revealed that December 2020 was Grand Theft Auto Online’s highest grossing month in the seven-plus years that the game has been out. The earnings were undoubtedly driven by the El Cayo Perico Heist update, which brought in new players and reinvigorated the existing player base. It is worth noting that the update was released for free, meaning the high earnings came from micro transactions, not from players purchasing the DLC.
Rockstar announced that it will celebrate Grand Theft Auto Online’s new player count milestone by giving free bonuses to anyone who logs on before February 12. The bonuses include a Rockstar cap and a Rockstar Rolling Tee. Rockstar said players should expect more reward events in the near future.
Grand Theft Auto Online’s ongoing success likely means that Rockstar is in no rush to release the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6, despite the rumors that the developer is hiding hints about the upcoming game in GTA Online. After all, Grand Theft Auto Online is already Rockstar’s most lucrative project, so it would not make sense for the company to undercut it by rushing out a new Grand Theft Auto game.
Rockstar has teased that Grand Theft Auto 6 will be a single player experience, which hints that the game will not have a multiplayer component. This suggests that the company may decide to continue to update Grand Theft Auto Online with new updates and upgrades, rather than creating an entirely new game from the ground up.
Grand Theft Auto Online is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.