Grand Theft Auto V is dominating the media right now, with record-breaking sales figures, fantastic review scores, diatribes about sexism and violence and insane gameplay videos. As a PC gamer, it seems a little unfair; most of the world is enjoying one of the biggest releases of the past five years, and we’re left in the dark. There’s a 540,000+ petition online to bring the game to our rigs of choice, and strangely enough, there’s also a petition to keep GTA V off PC to teach us a lesson to stop stealing games. With so much heat surrounding the issue, I’m going out on a limb here, and I’m going to say something that a lot of you won’t agree with.
Grand Theft Auto V’s absence from PC is actually a good thing.
Sure, it’s not good for us right now, the gamers who are desperate to perform heists in the glorious world of Los Santos. However Rockstar’s choice to keep the game away from the platform that kept GTA IV alive years after release makes sense.
While the DLC content The Lost and Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony revitalised interest in the title on consoles, GTA IV was making weekly headlines thanks to the persistence of the mod community on PC. Do you want to see R2-D2 in Liberty City? Done deal. Want some super intense textures, real-world cars, and photo-realistic visuals? We’ve got that too. The popularity of the ICE graphics mod, paired with the number of amazing community creations that took over sites like PC Gamer, Rock, Paper Shotgun and MMGN on a weekly basis kept everyone talking about GTA IV. It gave users a reason to purchase the game for a second time on a new platform. It gave us all a reason to care about a game that was four years old.
Rockstar wants to control that with GTA V. They realize just how important the mod community is. If they are smart (and we all know they are), they will release an in-game interface for locating and installing mods with ease, and they are probably working in partnership with leading mod creators to have content ready for day one. Rockstar want to make it easier to create content, but more importantly, they should be removing the barriers that exist for those without the technical expertise to install these mods.
There’s another reason why Rockstar hasn’t released GTA V on PC yet. The game may be closing out a generation of consoles, but I’m willing to put top dollar on the fact that the next wave of consoles will be receiving a HD version of the game within the first six months. Optimised to run on newer hardware, the textures will be better, the load-times will be smoother, and a PC version will launch alongside the PS4 and Xbox One release. Once again, this gives consumers another reason to purchase a second copy of the game, and this time you’ll be playing it on your PC with a new version of the ICE mod that will bring even the biggest of rigs to their knees.
Good things come to those who wait, and I’m sure we won’t be waiting too much longer for a PC version of GTA V to come knocking at our doors. At the moment it’s a beautiful swan song for a generation of consoles that have served us well. Let console gamers have this moment. Let them enjoy it. Because in the long run PC gamers are going to benefit from a bigger, better version of what is quickly becoming recognised as one of the best games in recent times.