In the video game world, it is rare that a company admits they screwed up, it even more rare that a company would then try to make things right by giving away content, Rockstar games, however, is not your average video game company. As a peace offering to gamers who have suffered through server woes, vanishing characters and a variety of other technical hiccups marring the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online, Rockstar Games has announced plans to give players $500,000 of in-game money. Anyone who logs into the online game and plays for a while this month will be eligible for the windfall. The deposits will be made directly into players’ in-game bank accounts.
Of course, as with any living economy, Rockstar is taking pains to avoid in-game inflation. Instead of offering a lump payment, the money will be distributed in two separate deposits of $250,000. The dates for those drops aren’t determined yet, but Rockstar’s hoping to make the first payment next week. The cash comes with yet another patch for the game, which is also expected next week. That update, says Rockstar, is expected to conclusively fix the persnickety issue of vanishing vehicles as well as a few other remaining bugs.
It’s not uncommon for online games to suffer from issues during the week or two after launch, and to their credit, Rockstar has been up front and communicative the entire way via blog posts and now an actual in-game cash payout. GTA V players can also hold off diving into the online mode — a first for the series — and instead focus on the game’s sprawling single-player story, a luxury other games haven’t enjoyed recently. EA’s SimCity made headlines because of connectivity problems during its launch in March, but unlike GTA V, the game required an online connection to work at all, even for solo players. Like Rockstar, EA tried to make nice with frustrated players by giving away a free EA game. A nice gesture, but the damage had been done.
Despite the online problems, GTA V has been nothing short of a historic success for Rockstar. The game has enjoyed record-setting sales since its launch in September; analysts expect those numbers to turn the month into a winner for the games industry.