It would be nice if a new game was released with no problems, no glitches, and no issues of any kind. This rarely happens. Grand Theft Auto Online, the online companion to the highly popular and successful Grand Theft Auto V, was plagued by issues from the moment it launched. When things like this happen, there is no way to go back in time to prevent them (time travel would certainly make game development different), so it is up to someone involved to find a way to deal with them. In some cases, that “someone” might be the individual player; the initial experience with the game was marred, but it’s still possible to pick up the pieces and have a good time. In other cases, responsibility falls with the gaming company, instead, to try to repair the damage and restore the goodwill of the players.
Rockstar was well aware that the issues with GTA Online made some players lose interest. When the game launched in early October, the rush of players was too much for it. Servers crashed and data vanished. Technical issues within the game caused further problems. Glitches altered gameplay and gave some players unfair advantages. Early attempts to fix the problems damaged save data for the single-player GTA V. The future did not look bright, but the people at Rockstar did their best to repair the damage.
One of the ways they did so was by handing out a “stimulus package” to all players who started the game in its first month. This $500,000 of in-game money was meant to eliminate some of the fallout the player might have dealt with from all the issues-and also can be viewed as a sort of peace offering. Unfortunately, the distribution of the stimulus package itself did not go as smoothly as planned. After several problems and delays, they did release the money, but some players claimed to have not gotten it, or to have gotten a different amount than what was promised. Oddly enough, a large number of players reported getting $500,001 , but that extra dollar is nothing compared to those who claimed to receive over one million! It is unclear if the stimulus package succeeded in its mission, or if it just convinced players even more that the game’s issues would remain a problem.
Still, there were many more issues for Rockstar to take care of. The financial system used in GTA Online was overhauled to make things more balanced. For example, the amount of money sacrificed when a player died was reduced, but they also reduced the amount of money earned through repeat quests. Even as they fixed those issues, the game’s economy was thrown into chaos by the popularity of the notorious “money glitch,” where players exploited a flaw in the system to re-sell the same vehicle and earn infinite amounts of money. Though the situation seemed like it could spiral out of control and destroy GTA Online, Rockstar addressed it as soon as they could, releasing patch after patch until the situation was taken care of.
Whether this latest round of fixes will work remains to be seen, but you certainly can’t accuse Rockstar of resting on its laurels.