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Will Grand Theft Auto 6 come to Xbox Game Pass?

Grand Theft Auto 6 is still a complete mystery, despite the fact that it’s the most-talked-about upcoming game at the moment. Reports claim that the game is in development, with a release date still years off. There are also rumors that it’ll be a huge game that compiles maps from previous entries in the series.

While much if this is hearsay, there’s one question I find myself asking: Will it come to Xbox Game Pass at launch? That’s a question I ask about a lot of games these days, but its becoming especially front of mind when I think about Grand Theft Auto 6. Developer Rockstar has been playing nice with Microsoft’s subscription service over the past few years, opening the door for Game Pass’ biggest power play yet. It would be a full checkmate moment.

It’ll be a long time until we get a firm answer here, but there’s a new reason to speculate: Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — Definitive Edition. The upcoming collection is the first GTA game to release since 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V. Xbox Game Pass didn’t launch until 2017, so this is the first chance we’ve gotten to see how committed Rockstar is to bringing a new entry in the series to the service.

The answer is mixed, as it turns out. The full remaster trilogy isn’t coming to Game Pass. Instead, Game Pass subscribers will get Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas — Definitive Edition on November 11, the day it launches. Rockstar is doing something similar for Sony’s PS Now service, though the deal is a bit less sweet. Grand Theft Auto 3 — Definitive Edition will join the service on December 7.

Characters stand together in the remastered edition of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s a bizarre move and one that shows that Rockstar isn’t ready to give its biggest series away for free just yet. Putting one game on each service won’t really help fans of the series much. The appeal of the trilogy collection is, well, the trilogy. Those who want to play all three games will need to pony up a full $60, so throwing San Andreas on Game Pass almost feels like giving Microsoft fans a demo.

Previous Rockstar games have come to Game Pass before, but the approach has been similarly cagey. Both Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 have appeared on the service, but they disappeared just as fast. The latter joined Game Pass in May 2020 and left the library that September. The same thing happened with Red Dead Online this year, timeline and all.

Arthur Morgan mounts a machine gun in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Based on that history, the chances of Grand Theft Auto 6 coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch are looking slim. This is going to be a cash cow for Rockstar, and if its not willing to add its remake collection to services, or keep its old games available, there’s no reason to think it’ll give the milk away for free — especially when Rockstar has its own games launcher that stands to get a big boost when that game debuts.

Realistically, we’ll probably see Grand Theft Auto 6 come to Xbox Game Pass and PS Now sometime deeper in its life span. Rockstar still does play ball with services like Game Pass, but it’s more strategic about its offerings than most companies. It gives players a taste, but never enough to stop them from buying the actual game. Game Pass owners will probably get a few months with GTA6, only to find themselves needing to pay to continue their progress. You won’t sign up and beat a game like this in a month. Grand Theft Auto V is still going strong after eight years.

Naturally, a lot can change in the next few years. GTA6 doesn’t seem like it’ll launch until 2025 at the earliest, according to reports. Xbox Game Pass is growing every year, and 2022 should be its biggest yet. Companies will only be more and more enticed by the service. Still, temper your expectations. Game Pass needs Grand Theft Auto more than Grand Theft Auto needs Game Pass. Rockstar clearly knows that, and it’s going to game the system to boost its bottom line, not its player counts.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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