This ain’t your daddy’s online play…
When you stop and think about it; it’s amazing to see just how much online gaming has evolved over the years. I can still remember a time during the life of the PlayStation 2, when the online component was still a foreign element. Playing SOCOM 2 online was almost an alien concept. This was one of those areas that the PC ruled supreme for years. If you wanted to get into any kind of serious online play, you needed a mouse and keyboard. Whether it was a role-playing game, a real-time-strategy game, or the old, standard FPS, PC was your only real outlet for it. Then, as networks such as Xbox Live and PSN got off their feet, the shift toward console gaming as an online experience really exploded. Until then, late-night games of Counter Strike were the norm.
The arcade scene has been dead for years (thanks to the very consoles we love so much), but who knew how much fun it would be to get an online match going with a total stranger via your console? The only thing missing was the old-school placing of the quarters on the screen to reserve your spot. The advent of online, console gaming really helped capture that vibe of community. Now, it’s almost silly to think of a game being released without some type of online element. Even if it’s just DLC, digital content has made a dedicated Internet connection for your consoles a must have. I also recently touched on just how important the digital nature of the consoles is, and how this nature is shifting the next-gen in a new direction. Many gamers find that, after the single-player campaign has ended, the online element is what keeps the game new and fresh. I can tell you from experience that both the Halo CE (back in my PC FPS days) and Modern Warfare 3 (on the consoles) multiplayer elements are very fun and enthralling, I literally played only online matches for months before I ever touched the single-player campaigns.
The good news is (for those not interested in the more conventional fair of the FPS) that online play isn’t just about run-and-gun anymore. There are so many other things to do online in games that have nothing to do with guns or explosions (although those do seem to be the most fun).
Grand Theft Auto V launched to huge numbers and fan fair. It set records and will no doubt win award upon award. As amazing of an accomplishment as this is, this was just the opening volley for Rockstar’s next phase of what it wants to bring to the table. Its online component (entitled simply GTA Online) allows players to join together and start experiencing online play in a much more open-ended manner. It attempts to prove that not everything online involving gaming has to center around ridged rules, but it ventures to offer gamers a way to interact in a sandbox-style environment that they’re accustomed to in the world of GTA.
So what does Rockstar have in mind when it comes to innovating how we spend our time online? Let’s take a look at a few of the unique things that GTA Online brings to the table that not even GTA V can offer.