GTA Online update adds major graphics feature to PS5 and Xbox Series X

Ray tracing in GTA 5
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

The December update for GTA Online will add ray tracing on Xbox Series X and PS5, as well as other quality-of-life improvements to the long-running multiplayer mode. 

More specifically, the GTA Online Winter Update 2022, which is slated to go live later this month according to the Rockstar Newswire post, is adding ray-traced reflections which will be available from the Fidelity Mode graphics setting on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This means that your custom cars and motorcycles will look even more impressive cutting through the streets of Los Santos. 

Ray-tracing has been available on both the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions of GTA 5 since the next-gen version of the legacy game launched back in March. This is arguably one of the bigger improvements made to the title, dubbed the 'Expanded and Enhanced edition' as it was previously available on the two prior Xbox and PlayStation platforms before it. 

The key difference to this update of the game, as opposed to previous versions, is that before it only provided ray-traced shadows and ambient occlusion. Now, you're getting full-on reflections, which is much more in line with what we expect of ray tracing in games. 

The Fidelity graphics options in GTA Online, regardless of platform, runs at 30 FPS in native 4K resolution, so you're getting the prettiest-looking experience at the expense of a capped frame rate. Considering the multiplayer is incredibly fast-paced, we aren't sure how many users will forgo the smoother 60 FPS for enhanced reflections in the open-world carnage, but the option is definitely appreciated all the same. 

What else does the December patch add to GTA Online?

The GTA Online December 2022 Update 1.64 will also add improvements to vehicles and economy features. For example, cars will now appear faster when they're initially purchased and current-gen console owners will have access to Hao's Special Works without needing to complete a specified race beforehand. You can find the full list of updates and changes on Rockstar's Newswire

Keep in mind that GTA 5 is an older game, as it's rapidly approaching its 10th anniversary, so the lighting engine used in the title can only look so good. You won't be getting ray tracing on par with current-gen releases such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Deathloop in terms of how those games handle the tech.

Aleksha McLoughlin
Hardware Editor

Aleksha McLoughlin is the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming and oversees all hardware coverage for the site. She looks after buying guides, writes hardware reviews, news, and features as well as manages the hardware team. Before joining TRG she was the Hardware Editor for sister publication GamesRadar+ and she has also been PC Guide's Hardware Specialist. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of Trusted Reviews, The Metro, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.