There have been rumors for 2 years that “Grand Theft Auto 6” will introduce cryptocurrency, why won’t it integrate with Web3?

"Grand Theft Auto 6" has been rumored to introduce cryptocurrency for 2 years. Why not integrate with Web3?

Author: Ana Blockingula Pereira, Kate Irwin

Translation: BlockingNews

Last weekend, a popular rumor circulated in the crypto community that the well-known action-adventure game series “Grand Theft Auto” (GTA) may introduce cryptocurrency rewards in its upcoming upgraded game version “Grand Theft Auto 6” (GTA 6). This game, expected to be released in 2023 or 2024, plans to integrate blockchain technology to implement a cryptocurrency-based reward system, and may use Bitcoin as one of the payment methods and reward tokens for the game.

The rumor of introducing cryptocurrency into the “Grand Theft Auto” game has been around for a long time, first appearing in 2021 and resurfacing again in 2022. However, none of these rumors have been officially confirmed by the game developer Rockstar Games and its parent company Take-Two Interactive. Let’s take a look at why this popular game “Grand Theft Auto” is unlikely to jump into Web3 for now.

“Play-to-Earn” P2E is no longer seen as a viable business model

Play-to-earn (P2E) games allow users to earn cryptocurrency by playing games. Although blockchain games have attracted many players, this business model seems to be becoming unsustainable, especially in the current market environment of low cryptocurrency prices. At the NFT.NYC conference held in April this year, many game publishers and developers said they were already looking for alternative game business models to P2E.

According to Chase Freo, CEO of the game platform OP Games, the blockchain game giant AxieInfinity is exploring transformation in its flagship game. He also pointed out that “play-to-earn games are fundamentally an unsustainable model.” Blockingul Flanagan, the business development manager of the Estonian mobile game developer CM Games, believes that P2E games are more like a “zero-sum game,” and some games even have similarities to Ponzi schemes. Although brand sponsorship may become a viable source of revenue, its effectiveness in practice still needs to be observed.

As far as Grand Theft Auto is concerned, according to Statista data, the game has sold 180 million copies worldwide since 2015 and is one of the most successful games of all time. According to revenue estimates from Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive, they have generated over $8 billion in revenue over the past decade solely through game licensing, making Grand Theft Auto a high-profit licensing game. “Following the trend” and transitioning to a play-to-earn model is actually risky.

Above: The full-cycle unit sales of Grand Theft Auto V worldwide as of May 2023. Data source: Take-Two Interactive, Statista.

Rockstar Games’ NFT ban and Take-Two Interactive’s Web3 entry

In November 2022, developer Rockstar Games announced new rules for fan and developer-created role-playing servers, which prohibit third-party online servers from using NFTs, and developers cannot integrate encrypted assets such as cryptocurrency or NFTs. Rockstar Games emphasized that despite the new restrictions, it will still provide support for relevant game servers, but the introduction or abuse of other IPs in the project will be strictly prohibited, including other Rockstar IPs, real brands, characters, trademarks, or music, and the production of new games, stories, missions, or maps, etc.

Undoubtedly, Rockstar Games’ ban is a major setback for players who hope to use NFTs in game licensing.

On the other hand, Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive is actively embracing Web3. In early 2022, Take-Two Interactive acquired social game developer Zynga, which supports NFT blockchain games, for $12.7 billion. Strauss Zelnick, the company’s CEO, stated that the acquisition of Zynga will enable it to address new “Web3.0 opportunities, making Take-Two Interactive more effective than any company alone.”

Summary

To be frank, game giants have different attitudes towards cryptocurrency, although Rockstar Games is relatively indifferent to cryptocurrency, other traditional game giants seem very willing to embrace this emerging thing, and here are a few examples:

  • The game developer Square Enix, which owns game IPs such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, has announced the launch of NFT games on the Polygon blockchain, and its president has promised to adhere to blockchain investment strategies and has invested in chain game development company gumi and chain game guild YGGJaBlockingn.
  • Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts (EA), one of the largest game developers in the world, has also said that NFTs are “an important part of the future of the gaming industry” during a quarterly earnings call.

As of now, Rockstar Games has not released an official statement regarding the addition of crypto assets in the Grand Theft Auto 6 game, but it has not denied the rumors circulating in the market. Perhaps only when the game is officially released in 2024 will we know the answer.

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