Back in August, with just one month to go before the launch of Grand Theft Auto V, developer Rockstar previewed its multiplayer vision for that game. Titled Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer mode is set to launch on October 1 for everyone who bought a copy of Grand Theft Auto V.
The release delay raised several questions, with critics chastising Rockstar for releasing an unfinished game, and fans defending the developer for allowing everyone time to finish off the game's single-player experience. Regardless of the reason for the delay, it now appears that Grand Theft Auto Online will be a more "modern" multiplayer experience than anyone imagined.
Though Online isn't yet available, Reddit user 1880 found that GTA V still contains a plain XML describing unreleased content for Grand Theft Auto Online. Among the goodies are packs of money in different increments, each bearing this description:
Cash is king in this town. Solve your money problems and help get what you want across Los Santos and Blaine County with the purchase of cash packs for Grand Theft Auto Online. All purchased cash is automatically deposited into your character’s bank account. Spend wisely, cash therapy is fleeting.
The cash packs come in four different sizes of in-game money: the "Red Shark Cash Card" ($100,000), the "Tiger Shark Cash Card" ($200,000), the "Bull Shark Cash Card" ($500,000), and the "White Shark Cash Card" ($1,250,000). Other packs in the file include a "Collector's Edition Pack" (Stunt Plane Trials, a special ability boost, additional weapons, garage property with unique vehicles, bonus outfits and tattoos, special deals from shopkeepers, access to the Atomic Blimp aircraft and custom characters for Grand Theft Auto Online), a "Special Edition Pack" (Stunt Plane Trials, a special ability boost, additional weapons, bonus outfits and tattoos, special deals from shopkeepers and access to the Atomic Blimp aircraft), and the stand-alone Atomic Blimp.
While Rockstar could still be given the benefit of the doubt, it seems clear that the developer intends (or at one point intended) to monetize Grand Theft Auto Online through microtransactions. Players already making their way in the single-player GTA V experience have already complained of the difficulty of making money outside of heists, and fans could cry foul if microtransactions are seen to have affected rewards in the game.