Why GTA VI needs to launch on PC and not just on consoles

Official GTA VI image saying coming 2025
(Image credit: Rockstar)

Across three console generations, Grand Theft Auto V has managed to sell well over 180 million copies since its release in 2013. Meanwhile, its online component released two weeks after launch, now manages to bring in $1,738 a minute or $2.5 million a day

Originally released on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, a PC version was initially supposed to be released alongside its console siblings. Unfortunately, PC gamers wouldn’t be able to explore Los Santos until April 2015. Released a year after the upgraded PS4 and Xbox One versions, there were many extras that showed how much better the PC was as a platform than any console could be. 

Modders have kept GTA V viable for years

GTA 5 Social Club

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Outside of visually eclipsing its then current and future console siblings visually, the PC version came with the Rockstar editor as a way for players to capture and edit videos of gameplay. This alone has created a community of creators who have done everything from recreate classic scenes from GTA V’s single player campaign with various characters across various unrelated IPs to creating original content.

We’re not even mentioning its extensive modding community. Some have done simple things like add real world vehicles to the game while others have visually pumped the game or ultra realistic levels due to the extra power that comes with high end PCs.

There’s even a mod that renders textures in 8K for those with a beefy rig. Even though both PS5 and Xbox Series X versions featured Ray Tracing capabilities, the PC version to this day doesn’t officially support it without using a mod. Interesting considering how much of a performance downgrade the feature was on consoles according to reports.

Consoles are just optimized gaming PCs nowadays anyway

Grand Theft Auto 6

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

The PC version of GTA V is so popular that during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the free version offered on Epic Games Store crashed the online retailer’s digital storefront for a while. 

Recently, developer Rockstar Games finally announced a release date for the first look at GTA VI following years of anticipation and a leak seen around the world last year. Though we definitely know that the game when released will hit current general consoles, it’s definitely time for the open world action game to hit PC at the same time as well.

A shame considering the very first game in the series launched first on Windows in March 1998 before hitting the original PS the following June. The PS and Windows version of GTA 2 released at the same time a year later. Things changed following the release of the GTA III. 

The game that forever changed the notion of open world possibilities launched on PS2 in 2001 first before Windows and others. The same would be for Vice City and San Andreas. Following the release of GTA IV, PC has usually come after console versions are released.

Much has changed within the console and PC dynamic since the release of GTA V a little over a decade ago. The PS3 was still using proprietary Cell microprocessor and Nvidia-sourced RSX GPU while the Xbox 360 had Xenon CPU alongside its ATI Xenos GPU.

Now, both PS5 and Xbox Series X (and S to an extent) use similar AMD-sourced CPU and GPU combo. Therefore, modern gaming consoles are literally reduced-but-optimized gaming PCs. As such, there's no better reason for PC gamers to enjoy GTA VI alongside consoles whenever the launch date comes.

High-end PC capabilities could really showcase what GTA VI is capable of

A screenshot from the GTA 6 trailer.

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

However, it's understandable why there may be caution against that. The nature of PC gaming makes optimization fairly complicated. Meanwhile, Rockstar probably doesn't want the modder community to have its hands on whatever single player masterpiece it's cooking up so soon. By the time GTA V hit PC, many had gotten everything the narrative could offer.

Meanwhile, GTA Online took some time to knock out some serious bugs before it became the uber money maker it is today. Launching on PC day one opens up the possibilities of complications that can potentially become overblown in the current news and social media cycle. Online play is already chaotic regardless how one plays GTA Online and having unhinged modders can possibly ruin the experience as well.

With that said, it would be amazing to see Rockstar pull off a successful console launch with PC. Having newer support for Path Tracing, DLSS 3 and faster SSD speeds could go a long way pushing GTA VI beyond the limitations of both PS5 and Xbox Series. 

Most importantly, it'll be nice to see how far Rockstar can push its launcher and Social Club. A PC release of GTA VI is likely to come soon after the release of the console versions if its recent reveal trailer is any indication. How soon? Who knows at the present moment. One thing that is true is that when it happens, the PC version of GTA VI will be the best way to play what's soon to be one of the must have games of a generation.

Ural Garrett

Ural Garrett is an Inglewood, CA-based journalist and content curator. His byline has been featured in outlets including CNN, MTVNews, Complex, TechRadar, BET, The Hollywood Reporter and more.