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Rockstar winding down Red Dead Online updates to focus on GTA 6

Wild West multiplayer will no longer receive major expansions, but GTA Online will continue to get more support

Rockstar Games has confirmed what many Red Dead Online players suspected by this point: it is no longer working on major content updates for the game's multiplayer mode.

In an update on its website, the developer discussed its plans for both Red Dead Online and Grand Theft Auto Online, revealing that it will be winding down the former -- in part as the studio concentrates on its next blockbuster.

"Over the past few years, we have been steadily moving more development resources towards the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series -- understanding more than ever the need to exceed players' expectations and for this next entry to be the best it can possibly be -- and as a result, we are in the process of making some changes to how we support Red Dead Online," the studio said.

While Rockstar will continue to run seasonal special events and add quality of life improvements, any future additions will build on existing modes and add new missions, rather than creating major themed updates and expansions as it has in previous years.

It's almost been a full year since the last significant addition: the Blood Money update. In fact, Push Square reports players are planning to hold a funeral for the game to mark the lack of updates.

Grand Theft Auto Online, meanwhile, will continue to receive more updates and upgrades, as well as increased payouts to players as a thank you for their time and commitment.

The focus on GTA Online rather than Red Dead Online makes sense, since that title has been a significant source of revenue for Rockstar and its parent Take-Two since it first launched for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2013.

The game has continued to be one of the best-selling titles every year since, boosted by new versions for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. Rockstar has even released download-only standalone versions of GTA Online, as it has with Red Dead Online.

The difference in playerbase is also another factor. Red Dead Redemption 2 sold 44 million copies worldwide, according to Take-Two's latest financials, compared with Grand Theft Auto 5's 165 million.

GTA 5 had a five-year headstart, of course, but the Red Dead franchise has always tracked behind Rockstar's flagship. The original Red Dead Redemption sold 15 million copies in eight years, while Grand Theft Auto 4 reached 25 million in half that time.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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