Big Developers and publishers should be more like Rockstar

Rockstar make and publish great games. Let’s face it. The Grand Theft Auto series, and Red Dead Redemption, are some of the most celebrated games in history. Grant Theft Auto V was, in many senses, a true masterpiece. It also smashed a number of world records, including ‘Best-selling video game in 24 hours’ and ‘Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion’.

If developers and publishers could make and publish more games like Red Dead and GTAV, that’d be great. But I’m a realist. I know that few developers can compete with the funds available to Rockstar. Or the fanbase, for that matter.

DLC and updates for all

But what I really feel sets Rockstar apart from the rest is their current attitude towards DLC. That attitude being an Oprah like penchant for giving it away for free.

Rockstar is killing it with GTAV. Particularly, with GTA Online. Sure, I’d love to see some new story content. But when it comes to GTA Online, Rockstar are keeping it fresh and entertaining with a constant flow of new DLC and updates.

From new game modes to more vehicles and different outfits. The consistent delivery of updates and DLC is keeping players engaged and, most importantly, keeping them playing. GTA Online could easily have died a death a few months in. But Rockstar quickly started to trickle out additions to the game, for free, and it kept interest levels high.

Rockstar deliver fantastic content for free

They don’t take ages to release the expansions (after Heists). They don’t keep you waiting with promises of more content. They just deliver fantastic content – for free.

Rockstar has realised, I would imagine, that keeping people engaged and in one place is a powerful thing. From within the game, they can encourage players to make micro-transactions. The majority won’t, but a select few will – and that’s where the money’s at.

Micro-transactions for a not-so-micro-fortune

Riot Games, for example, make a killing from micro-transactions. League of Legends is free to play, and they know that by keeping the gamers in one place with great content, they’ll make the money back through added bonuses. They’re basically fostering a culture of goodwill. An “I got this game for free, so I’m happy to spend £10 here and there” kind of attitude.

The same can be said for GTA Online. Whilst all of the bonus content is technically free, you still need in-game cash to buy cars, outfits and pads. You can earn that by playing missions and heists – but it’ll take a while to save up for the really big things. That’s where micro-transactions come in, in the form of Shark Cards.

But I’m fine with it. Personally, if I want something in-game, I’d rather work for it. But that’s not for everyone, and having the option to buy in-game-cash is no problem in my eyes. I just appreciate that Rockstar are giving us great content, for no extra cost.

But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!