Well we called it. Grand Theft Auto 6 now has a release window, but only for some. In a press release accompanying the first trailer, Rockstar is careful to omit two very important letters. “Grand Theft Auto VI is coming to PlayStation 5 computer entertainment systems and Xbox Series X|S games and entertainment systems in 2025,” the studio announces. So what about PC?
I don’t think it’s even a question as to whether a PC version will be released. GTA 5 is, right now, the sixth most played game on Steam by concurrent players. It’s in the top 20 of the Steam global top sellers list twice—once for the standard version, and once for the premium edition. It’s a massive success that’s earned a lot of money for Rockstar—not least from its online mode’s microtransactions. This is a studio that loves to persuade players to double-dip on different versions, and it’d be wild if it didn’t do the same again here.
The question, then, isn’t so much ‘if’ as ‘when’, and the bad news is that the answer is very, very unlikely to be 2025.
Let’s let history be our guide here. Grand Theft Auto 5 released on PS3 and Xbox 360 in September 2013. The following year, in November 2014, it released on PS4 and Xbox One. The PC version didn’t arrive until April 2015—a full 19 months after its console debut. Rockstar’s other major release of the decade, Red Dead Redemption 2, was a little kinder to us. The console release was October 2018, with the PC version arriving a ‘mere’ 13 months later, in November 2019.
Realistically, then, it would be fair to assume that GTA 6 will come to PC in either 2026 or 2027. Personally, I’ll stake my claim to the former. Chances are that GTA 6’s console release will be in the first few months of 2025—at least if Take-Two’s statement to investors is to be believed. “We remain confident that we are positioning our business for a significant inflection point in fiscal 2025,” said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in a first quarter report earlier this year, “which we believe will include new record levels of operating performance.” That suggests they’re expecting big business in FY25, ie, before the end of March 2025. A GTA 6 release would certainly achieve that.
(Image credit: Rockstar)
If that is the case, then both prior big Rockstar releases would suggest a PC date in 2026. The 13 month wait of Red Dead Redemption 2 would put us in April 2026 territory. But even the 19 month delay of GTA 5 would cause the release to land in October 2026.
While the wait will be long and painful, I just don’t see it stretching into 2027
Forgive some wishful thinking, but my gut feeling is this particular wait will be a lot closer to one year than two. GTA 5 released at a particularly unusual time for the industry at large. Both the PS4 and Xbox One released in November 2013, just a couple of months after GTA 5’s release. And, for Take-Two as a whole, the consoles remain the major focus even today. In the company’s 2023 annual report, consoles accounted for 43.1% of net revenue, compared to PC’s 9.5%—and even that constitutes a major drop of the revenue share for both platforms after Take-Two’s acquisition of Zynga, which enshrined mobile as the dominant platform. Essentially, the release of the PS4 and Xbox One ensured they became the priority platforms for a GTA 5 port.
That same pressure is unlikely to apply here. Most speculation dates the next console generation as launching in 2026 at the very earliest, and that means PC is the most attractive place to release next. And that’s if GTA 6 is even developed natively for the next console generation at all. As consoles shift inexorably more into mini-PCs, backwards compatibility is getting better, to the point that there is no PS5 or Series X version of Red Dead Redemption 2—just older versions that can do slightly more with the newer tech. Why port when you can wait a few more years and release a remaster, after all.
Copium? Maybe. But while the wait will be long and painful, I just don’t see it stretching into 2027. And hey, at least when it does arrive it will likely be with a suite of exciting technological tricks that guarantee the PC release will be the best version you can buy.