GTA Online: Is the new Casino update nothing more than a cash grab?
If you've read any of my other musings on this site, then you'll know that I am a bonafide, dyed in the wool, flag-waving, Rockstar fanboy and I make no bones about it. In my eyes, they are the company that can do no wrong and throughout their existence have released exceptional game after exceptional game and have never once let me, or my fellow Rockstar aficionados, down. At least, that's how I used to feel, but with the release of The Diamond Casino and Resort update, something seems rotten in the city of Los Santos.
GTA Online Casino Update Is Just A Cash Grab?
As soon as the update dropped and it had installed on my system, I, like everybody else, found my avatar outside the resort. There were cops there already as my fellow players didn't seem capable of showing up on an opening day without unleashing a flurry of bullets at each other. This is why we can't have nice things people, so to avoid any of this nonsense I jumped out of the free-for-all and logged back in on a closed friend session. The reason behind this move was that I wanted to have a proper look without having to worry about someone trying to remove my head from the vicinity of my shoulders and on face value it was just what I wanted it to be.
It was full of bright lights, noise, and was a complete attack on the senses just like any real-life casino you can find, and it seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. The first thing I saw when I entered was that bad-ass car on the podium and the big Wheel of Fortune that you get to spin once a day for a chance to win it. So I approached it, span the thing, and walked away $40,000 richer. Feeling lucky, I went and had a play on all the tables and slots, made a few more bucks, and popped into the casino store to see what was on offer. I didn't buy anything, but it was nice to see that there were more options for things I don't need but will undoubtedly go out of my way at some point to purchase. Everything was going swimmingly, and then I looked into getting myself a penthouse suite so I could go full-on V.I.P, and that's when it hit me.
Underneath all the bells and whistles that dazzle and amaze, The Diamond Casino and Resort is nothing more than a massive cash grab designed to separate you from your actual hard-earned, real-life money. Allow me to explain. I have two characters on the go at the moment, one is a lowly lv 13 and was only brought to life for another article I'm doing for this site and the other one, my go-to, is lv 203. Now, as you can imagine, I knew that I'd need some money to go play around in this new playground. I went with her as she had about $500,000 in the bank and having seen how much it would cost to buy a suite I started grinding away, trying to raise the bare minimum that I'd need to get the basic set-up. It's now three days later, at the time of writing, and I'm still only about halfway there.
You see, the problem here is that life has a terrible tendency to get it the way of gaming. Like most of you reading this, I have other commitments that need attending to daily such as work, family, trying to hold together a healthy social life, so I don't end up this generation's Howard Hughes. I don't have the time to grind through the game to raise the requisite money that I need to buy this new fangled home. I know it, you know it, and Rockstar/Take-Two knows it, which is why they invented Shark Cards. Now, I've never bought one of those damned things. Everything that my high-end character owns she's gotten through countless hours of me being glued to a TV screen over the years, whenever and wherever I can find the spare time, but I've always viewed them with suspicion and yet have never called them out on it until now.
I hate micro-transactions in whatever way, shape, or form they raise their ugly little heads, even to the point that I haven't bought an EA game since Fight Night Champion back in 2011 but for some reason, I've always let Rockstar slide when it's come to Shark Cards. I used to claim it was because you didn't have to buy one to enjoy the game, but that's bull-honky, I let it go because there's Rockstar. But the new update has just shone a bright light on a significant problem the game has, and that's the price of everything just far too high in GTA Online. Now I get it, they're in business, and they're here to make money. However, when you're making millions a day from micro-transactions, and every new update brings a whole host of new and bloody expensive things with it then maybe, just maybe, it's time to take a step back and wonder if it's all worth it if you're going to alienate your core fan-base.
Does this mean I won't be playing GTA Online anymore? Eventually, I'm afraid I'm just going to have to. For now, I can still grind away and try my hardest to raise the cash that I need to buy the new shiny penthouse. You know that as soon as I get it all maxed out, then they'll drop a new update that comes with more outrageously expensive things and it's going to stay this way. This will continue as long as people who don't have the time to invest in the game, or who want to get ahead of the curve, keep pumping real money into Shark Cards and that's a shame. If you have to fork out for a game in the first place, then you really shouldn't have to pay to play it.