GTA Online PS Plus Confusion Explained

When it comes to the PlayStation Plus subscription service, Sony has established certain patterns so fans know what to expect each month. For example, PlayStation Plus subscribers know that Sony typically announces the next batch of free PS Plus games on the last Wednesday of each month, and so was the case with the free PS Plus games for March 2022.

Sony announced the free PS Plus games for March 2022 on Wednesday, February 23, confirming a total of four games for the service. Come Tuesday, March 1, PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to claim Ghostrunner on PS5, ARK: Survival Evolved and Team Sonic Racing on PS4, and Ghost of Tsushima: Legends on both PS4 and PS5. Since the free PS Plus games typically only consist of three titles, many fans were pleasantly surprised to see Sony break one of its established patterns and give away four free games for March 2022, but there is some confusion about a fifth title that some

The confusion surrounding Grand Theft Auto Online being a potential bonus free PS Plus game for March 2022 started at PlayStation’s Future of Gaming Show. The event kicked off with the confirmation that Grand Theft Auto 5 was coming to PlayStation 5, and that it was bringing its GTA Online multiplayer component with it as a standalone release. Following the trailer, a graphic appeared on-screen showing a DualSense controller with the words “PS5 OWNERS WILL GET GTA ONLINE FREE AT LAUNCH IN 2021” with the PlayStation Plus logo attached and a note that it requires PS Plus to play.

The inclusion of the PS Plus logo seems to be what’s causing the confusion, as many took this to mean that GTA Online would be one of the free PS Plus games when it released on PS5. It’s an understandable assumption to make, though the bit that it “requires PS Plus to play” suggests that the logo was just there to clue fans in that they will need a PS Plus subscription to play the game since it’s online-only. Since a PS Plus subscription is required to play GTA Online, one could argue that it still counts as a PS Plus bonus regardless.

In any case, the text that PS5 owners will “get” GTA Online for free at launch also led some to assume that they would get to keep the game once it launched on March 15. So even if one wasn’t confused by the use of the PS Plus logo, PS5 gamers can be forgiven for assuming that they will get to permanently add Grand Theft Auto Online to their digital libraries given the language used in the initial announcement, but that’s not necessarily the case either.

On February 4, Rockstar Games published a new blog post to detail the next-gen version of Grand Theft Auto 5 as well as finally confirm that GTA 6 is in development. The blog post included a blurb about the PS5 version of GTA Online, where Rockstar said that the game will be “available for free for the first three months to PlayStation 5 players.” This can be taken a couple of different ways. It could mean that PS5 gamers have a three-month window to claim GTA Online, but it could also mean that the game will only be free for three months after it launches, at which point it will need to be purchased.

Since GTA Online wasn’t mentioned when Sony revealed the free PS Plus games for March 2022, it seems that a PS Plus subscription may not be necessary to claim or download the game, but one will be required to actually play it. And since it wasn’t part of the free PS Plus games for March 2022 announcement, it’s also quite possible that the game will only be free for a limited time, not free for PS5 gamers to keep. Considering the confusing and potentially misleading way this was announced, it’s understandable that some PS5 gamers may be frustrated by the situation.

The bright side is that even if GTA Online isn’t actually a free PS Plus game for March 2022 that subscribers are still getting four games in March instead of the usual three. And even if they don’t get to keep GTA Online forever (the jury is still out without a lack of clarification from Rockstar Games), at least they’ll still have a three-month window where they can play it free of charge. A PS Plus subscription will still be required, though.

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