Why the "Next Grand Theft Auto" Could Be the Last GTA We'll Ever Get

On November 8, 2023, Rockstar's president, Sam Houser, announced that the first-ever trailer for "the next Grand Theft Auto" will come in early December. In just four days, the post blew up, amassing close to 170 million views on X (ex-Twitter) alone. This is nothing short of a modern social media miracle. But seeing that the next GTA will be released in a totally different technological landscape compared to GTA 5, let's envision how the new entry might look like 10, 15, or 20 years down the line.
Grand Theft Auto 13 photos
Photo: Rockstar Games
Nightclub ScenePool SceneBonnie and Clyde SceneBonnie and Clyde SceneBonnie and Clyde SceneThe Protagonist Being ShotThe Female ProtagonistProtagonist AnimationProtagonist AnimationThe Protagonist Looking at the SubwayThe Reimagined Lamborghini Urus GTA 6 SUVOriginal vs. Upcoming Vice City Skyline

There are only two or three possible venues for releasing the next Grand Theft Auto trailer. The first and most logical place would be as a "one more thing" apex moment at 10th-anniversary edition of Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards on December 7.

GTA 5 just turned 10 this year, and Rockstar turned 25, so it would fit there, no doubt. Especially when you consider that in 2022, TGA drew in over 103 million viewers in total. That's at least five times more than the 18.7 million from the Oscars, which has been dying since 2014 (43.7 million), with a slapping exception during the 2022 ceremony that propelled the 10.4 million viewership from 2021 to almost 17 million.

Seeing GTA 6, or whatever its name is, for the first time at The Game Awards would be a poetically perfect ending to the most incredible year in video game history.

The second option would be to go rogue with no fancy ceremony and only show a trailer, which wouldn't have the same pazazz and entertainment value TGA would bring to the table.

The third option I can fathom is a 30-60-minute in-person Rockstar live event akin to those at E3, where Take-Two CEO, Strauss Zelnic, and other top dogs from Rockstar would come on stage and present their future GTA title. This could also be entertaining in some aspects, although without the tremendous buildup from Keighley's awards.

No matter where or how Rockstar decides to reveal their game, it will, without a doubt, be one of the top five highlights of the decade and one of the most critical events in video game history. It's going to be nothing short of a cultural or social phenomenon, because unifying news and connectedness have never been as widespread in human history as in 2023.


So we know that Sam Houser called the yet-to-be-revealed title the "next Grand Theft Auto." The number "6" doesn't actually come up anywhere, officially speaking. This in and of itself is fascinating because Rockstar might have decided one of three things.

The first could be to rename it simply Grand Theft Auto, which would be cleaner and would signal that a whole new age is upon us. And if you're raising an eyebrow, know that it wouldn't be the first franchise to try and unite different iterations under one roof.

Assassin's Creed Infinity is Ubisoft's future platform or, better said, hub, where smaller-scoped AC games will be launched. Activision had the same idea in mind with Call of Duty HQ, a unifying ecosystem that would ease player access to present and future CoD iterations.

So while the general and logical consensus is that the next Rockstar game will be called GTA 6, this may not be the case if the company decides to unify future unlockable content like DLCs or expansions under one roof. Why make a separate GTA 7 game ten years from the next one's release date, when you can keep adding fresh paid content for the next 10-20 years?

There were rumors about an evolving map or landscape. Who's to say this won't be the case, like what Fortnite does with its map every year or even World of Warcraft? Of course, this is purely speculative, but it sounds plausible today, where consoles, PCs, and mobile devices are merging more and more content each year.

Given that we learned through the September 2022 leaks that GTA 6 will cost 2 billion dollars, you're severely mistaken if you think Rockstar hasn't considered where the next GTA will be in 10, 15, or 20 years.

The way we consume digital content is evolving increasingly faster, and it will only gain more momentum as time passes. You don't spend that much money without trying to see every possible future angle.

All in all, it doesn't matter if they stick with their traditional numerology or go with something different. All that matters is that it ushers in a more visionary and exhilarating era in the video game industry, something we've never seen before.


We discussed where it could be revealed, what name it could have, and what form it could take years from now. But the most pressing subject in November 2023, is when it will be released, and more importantly, is it coming out on PC and consoles simultaneously? Judging by past Rockstar releases, the odds aren't in favor of PC users.

The most recent heavy-hitting Rockstar title to grace PC players was Red Dead Redemption 2. It was initially launched in October 2018, but it wasn't until a year later, in November 2019, that it finally got on PC.

Before RDR 2, there was GTA 5, originally launched only on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in September 2013. It got on the PS4 and Xbox One in November 2014. After three delays, five months later, it found a long-expected home on PC in April 2015.

The acclaimed GTA IV also took a short while to get from console to PC. It was released on PS3 and Xbox 360 in April 2008, only to arrive on Windows in December of the same year.

In that era, games were developed mainly with the console market in mind first, and then ported on PC. Rockstar wanted to polish the ports so the games wouldn't have performed horribly on a new platform... like Red Dead Redemption 2, which was notoriously broken when it first came out.

After that stroll down Memory Lane, the future doesn't look too bright for PC players. However, a shining light might be at the end of the pessimistic tunnel. According to reputable industry insiders like Jason Schreier, Rockstar has been actively developing GTA 6 since 2014, so it would have been 10-11 years in production by the time it launches.

Setting aside the massively impressive realistic simulation gameplay elements from RDR 2 that will most probably carry over to the next GTA in spades, it might just be that Rockstar took its sweet time with the game to have it ready on all three hardcore gaming platforms like PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.

Now, whether it will have PS4 and Xbox One versions seems unlikely, given the massive power gap between the 1.84 TFLOPS-PS4 and the 10 TFLOPS-PS5. It doesn't make sense to release it on such old hardware, given the graphical but also technical ramifications that go along with it.

This being said... Red Dead Redemption 2 is in the top 3 best-looking video games ever made on PC in 4K with Ultra Settings, despite being released on PS4 first.

This is so convoluted it could go either way and come on last-gen as well. At the end of the day, over 107 Monthly Active Users (MAU) are on the PlayStation ecosystem alone, and "only" 47 million are on PS5.

Is Rockstar simply going to ignore the rest of the 60 million potential buyers? Or is this how they will split the audience between GTA 5 Online and GTA 6 Online?

Now that I think about it, not releasing it on last-gen would stop it from cannibalizing the existing Online player base, so they could live in harmony altogether. Users who can't afford the new systems can safely play GTA 5 Online, while on the opposite side of the spectrum, PS5 owners can start throwing money at Take-Two like there's no tomorrow.

Also, just like everyone switched from PS3 to PS4, they will eventually shift to PS5 in the next 5-10 years. The more I bounce this idea off the wall, the more I'm convinced it wouldn't make sense to release it on last-gen because they would be throwing away money on a dying technology while constrained to those limitations.


So what about mobile...? Well, it's not that hard to predict, honestly. Upon looking at Rockstar's history in this department, we discover they have released a bunch of titles on smart devices like GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, Liberty City Stories, and Chinatown Wars.

In 2023, something truly magnificent happened for gamers when the iPhone 15 Pro Max was revealed. Apple said the chip inside the phone is so powerful it can run games locally like Assassin's Creed Mirage, Resident Evil 4 Remake, Resident Evil Village, and Death Stranding Director's Cut.

Granted, they're more or less a PS4 version running at 720p-1080p at Medium Settings below 60fps, but it's still pretty impressive, given that it's only the first generation of smartphones that can do that.

Imagine what they'll be capable of after the next GTA Online releases or 5-10 years from now. And we haven't even mentioned the resurrection of handheld gaming lately with the likes of the Steam Deck OLED, Asus Rog Ally, or Lenovo Legion Go.

However, this processing power is isolated to local downloads on the device itself. But more recently, cloud technology included in the likes of Microsoft Game Pass, which incidentally has GTA 5 in its roster at the time of writing, is also making its way up in the industry. In short, you can play the most advanced games on the Xbox Series X on your phone through streaming.

And while the naysayers still have a bone to pick with the current poor quality of streaming in certain parts of the world, jump 10 years in time, where it's the norm. The exact same scenario happened to digital games when they were once the "intruder," and now they've surpassed physical copies in sales by a landslide.

If we stick to my neverending Grand Theft Auto platform theory, we may even see the need to buy multiple copies across gaming devices completely eradicated. Just play GTA with cross-save and cross-progression wherever you want, like Fortnite, PUBG, Rocket League, and other Live Service games.

In short, yes, I totally see the next GTA on mobile devices at some point, even though it might not happen until years after release.


If my tin-foil hat theories come to fruition, aside from the self-pat on the back, it could mean that this will be the ultimate Grand Theft Auto experience, with no other significant entries left for the future; a GTA Eternal, if you will.

That's at least until the new platform goes through a revamp 15-20 years from now. But who knows if we'll still even be alive then?

*inserts laugh emoji, instantly regrets, sheds a tear*
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About the author: Codrin Spiridon
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Codrin just loves American classics, from the 1940s and ‘50s, all the way to the muscle cars of the '60s and '70s. In his perfect world, we'll still see Hudsons and Road Runners roaming the streets for years to come (even in EV form, if that's what it takes to keep the aesthetic alive).
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