Historically, GTA Online has required some sort of subscription, via Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus, to be able to play it. Having been around since 2013 Grand Theft AutoV's online multiplayer has built up a large and loyal player base. But do you need PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold to play GTA Online?
With the release of the remastered GTA V on the new generation of consoles, and Sony's announcement that the forthcoming standalone Grand Theft Auto Online will be free to PS5 players for three months, has that changed the equation?
We've rounded up all the information available, to give you a definitive answer to these questions. Do you still need an active subscription to PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold to play GTA Online? And is GTA Online free-to-play? Answers are this way.
Do You Need PS Plus Or Xbox Live Gold To Play GTA Online?
If you are a PlayStation 4 or 5 owner, then at the time of writing, you will still need an active PS Plus subscription, in order to access the game. While there are some multiplayer games which don't require a subscription to play, such as Apex Legends or Fortnite, GTA Online is not part of that list. When the new standalone version of the game is released, it will be interesting to see whether players will be expected to start paying for it after the free 3-month period expires.
On Xbox, the situation is a little more complicated. A few months ago, to access online play required players to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription, even if they were free-to-play. However, following a backlash to a planned price hike, Microsoft actually lurched in the opposite direction. After that, they decided to make free-to-play games available without Xbox Live Gold. Sadly, however, the game is not included on Microsoft's list of free-to-play Xbox games.
Is GTA Online Free-to-Play?
The answer to this question is also slightly more complicated than a simple yes or no. GTA Online doesn't require players to pay to access it specifically. So in one sense, it is free-to-play. However, in order to be able to play it, you need to have purchased a copy of GTA V. In addition, as we've already established, neither Sony nor Microsoft allow players access to the game, unless they pay for an online subscription. So in another, possibly more accurate sense, it's not free-to-play.
Ultimately, if you want to access GTA Online, and there are plenty of good reasons for doing so, then you're going to need to pay for it. We are still waiting for details on the standalone version of the game that is coming out later this year. We don't yet know whether it will remain free-to-play after 3 months, or if it will return behind a subscription charge. But we'll continue to update you, as soon as we know more.