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GTA 5 And GTA Online Cross-Platform: Why This Feature Still Isn't In The Game

Rockstar is constantly adding new "GTA Online" content for players to enjoy. For example, "GTA Online" recently introduced Stash House raids, a daily event where players steal goods from drug lords scattered across Los Santos. But no matter how much content Rockstar pumps out for "GTA Online," players still can't enjoy the game with their friends. Well, they can't play with their friends on separate platforms, that is.


Since "GTA 5" hit shelves on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 back in 2013, the game has not featured cross-play. But to Rockstar's credit, cross-platform multiplayer is a relatively new feature that's only now becoming the norm thanks to games like "Fortnite." Still, when the "GTA 5 Enhanced Version" was announced for Xbox Series X and PS5, many assumed cross-play would also debut. But to the fans' disappointment, it was nowhere to be found upon release. In addition, gamers couldn't even play with their friends stuck on last-generation consoles of the same brand. So why hasn't Rockstar added cross-play to "GTA Online" after all these years?

The game's code isn't up to snuff

Many have long speculated that the "GTA 5" source code is wildly different between consoles. And this makes sense, as the game has survived three different console generations. The game first launched on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. And because the two consoles' respective architecture is so different, and the fact that the PS3 was notoriously difficult to work with due to its wacky architecture, the code is likely also different. In addition, Rockstar probably built upon each console's unique code for the game's subsequent releases. Undoubtedly, this could have culminated in a bunch of code that is incompatible between platforms.


If this is all true, it would mean Rockstar must rewrite a large chunk of the code to get the two versions of the game to pair up online. And this gigantic undertaking may not be something Rockstar would be interested in taking on, considering the company is hard at work on "GTA 6."

Different platforms would give some an unfair advantage

Fair competition is another issue likely standing in the way of cross-play. Where console players get aim assist, PC players get a mouse and keyboard. As a result, all of the aiming and combat would need to be fine-tuned to make the game feel balanced. This is a hard task; even games like "Apex Legends" are still struggling to crack it after years of work.


Framerate could also affect competition. For example, if a PC player is running the game at a different framerate than a console, it could cause issues with reaction time, vehicle speed, and more. And even between consoles, this could be an issue as the systems boast different performance.

PC players also have access to mods and more accessible cheats. Of course, this leaves many gamers hoping that the game never ends up cross-platform. But "GTA 6" may give players no choice. If that's the case, hopefully, "GTA Online 2" has an improved anti-cheat.

Sony can be hard to please

Despite what Xbox's Phil Spencer says, the console war is still very much real. At least, that's what Sony thinks – and Sony doesn't like to cross-pollinate with other platforms. Sony notoriously blocked cross-platform play for "Rocket League" and "Minecraft." Senior Director Gio Corsi has even gone on record to argue "cross-platform play is not a slam dunk no matter the size of the title," reported Verge. The company eventually gave in to the public outcry and allowed for "Fortnite" cross-platform — but it was at a price.


Unlike other platforms, Sony takes a cut of revenue from cross-play titles on the system. With all of this information now out there on the web for all to see, many gamers have speculated that Rockstar has wanted to commit to cross-play, but Sony wouldn't allow it. Of course, this is all just speculation, but it does seem plausible considering Sony's track record.

Rockstar is too busy with GTA 6

As the massive Rockstar leak from last year showed the world, Rockstar is making a "GTA 6." And it has been keeping them busy too. The development of "GTA 6" has already forced them to push other projects aside, such as "Red Dead Online." Rockstar hasn't dropped complete support for "GTA Online" yet, however, as evidenced by the recent Los Santos Drug Wars: The Last Dose content update. But development on "GTA Online" is not what it used to be, as the company has noted that it has been pulling over "GTA Online" talent to work on "GTA 6." 


And it's doubtful the company would divert so many resources to rewriting the game's code or balancing the game for cross-play. Especially considering the company diverted zero resources for the disaster that would become "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy." Instead, development was outsourced to another company. As the company gears up for going all-in on "GTA 6," it may simply be too late for a "GTA Online" cross-platform update.