In August 2020, it was announced that a Standalone edition of Grand Theft Auto Online will be released in 2021. Now we know the reason behind the decision thanks to an interview with Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two CEO, at the Morgan Stanley technology conference.
According to Zelnick, one reason why the GTA Online Standalone Edition was decided was market saturation. He claimed that in order to get new players to buy the game, a “super-low friction, low price point” edition can be used. He added:
“Sure, you don’t have access to the original single-player experience, but you do have access to an online world. Our view is perhaps that’s a different market and that’s a way to expand the player base.”
The decision follows the success of the release of the standalone version of Red Dead Online. The idea is that those that play the online standalone version and enjoy it might end up upgrading to the game’s full version. Zelnick believes this is an opportunity to increase the player base.
Red Dead Online’s standalone version is available for $20. However, during the first weeks after the launch, the price was $5. This might signal a similar pricing approach for GTA Online Standalone. However, no official statement has been made in regards to pricing details and release date.
Up until now, Grand Theft Auto Online sold over 140 million copies. In addition, its in-game microtransactions are still reported to be very high, which led many to believe the current success is the reason why GTA 6 is still not announced.