Rockstar Games, the developer of the popular Grand Theft Auto series, has announced that it will no longer officially support Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems beginning January 30, 2024. This means that millions of players who are still using these outdated systems will not be able to play GTA Online and other games from Rockstar Games after this date.
Why is Rockstar Games Dropping Support for Windows 7 and 8?
The decision to end support for Windows 7 and 8 is based on Microsoft’s own end of support for these operating systems. Microsoft stopped providing security updates and technical assistance for Windows 7 users in January 2020, and will do the same for Windows 8 users in January 2023. This means that these systems are vulnerable to malware, viruses, and other cyberattacks, and may not run smoothly with the latest software and hardware.
Rockstar Games stated that it wants to prevent any future interruptions of service and ensure continued access to the latest platform features for its players. Therefore, it recommends Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to a supported operating system as soon as possible.
How Many Players Will Be Affected by This Change?
According to StatCounter, a web analytics service, Windows 7 and 8 accounted for about 15% of the global desktop operating system market share as of September 2023. This translates to roughly 150 million PCs still using these systems. While there is no official data on how many of these PCs are used for gaming, it is likely that a significant number of them are playing GTA Online and other games from Rockstar Games.
GTA Online is the online component of GTA 5, which was released in 2013 for the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It has been one of the most successful and profitable games of all time, with over 150 million copies sold worldwide as of August 2023. It has also been constantly updated with new content, features, and events over the years, making it one of the most popular online games among millions of players.
What Are the Options for Windows 7 and 8 Users?
Windows 7 and 8 users who want to continue playing GTA Online and other games from Rockstar Games after January 30, 2024 have two main options:
- Upgrade their PC to a supported operating system, such as Windows 10 or Windows 11. This may require purchasing a new license or hardware, depending on the specifications of their PC.
- Switch to a console platform, such as PS5, Xbox Series X/S, or PS4/Xbox One. This may require purchasing a new console or game disc/download, depending on the availability and compatibility of their game.
Both options have their pros and cons, depending on the preferences and budget of the players. However, they should act fast before the deadline approaches, as they may face difficulties or delays in upgrading or switching their platform.
What Does This Mean for the Future of GTA Online?
The end of support for Windows 7 and 8 users does not mean that GTA Online will be shut down or discontinued anytime soon. Rockstar Games has confirmed that it will continue to support GTA Online for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S platforms, which will receive enhanced versions of GTA 5 and GTA Online in March 2024. These versions will offer improved graphics, performance, loading times, and exclusive content for the next-generation consoles.
Rockstar Games has also hinted that it is working on GTA 6, the highly anticipated sequel to GTA 5. However, there is no official announcement or release date for GTA 6 yet. Some rumors suggest that GTA 6 will be set in a modern-day Vice City, and will feature a dynamic map that changes over time. Some also speculate that GTA 6 will be exclusive to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S platforms, and will not support the PS4/Xbox One or PC platforms.
While these rumors are unconfirmed, they indicate that Rockstar Games is aiming to deliver a more immersive and innovative experience for its fans with its future games. Therefore, it makes sense that it wants to focus on the latest and most advanced platforms available, rather than the outdated ones.