With the long-awaited opening of Los Santos Casino in the most recent update to Grand Theft Auto Online, the game has experienced its highest number of online players - for both a single day and a single week since the release of the game in 2013.
The Diamond complex offers a variety of games which can be used to gamble with in-game currency, including blackjack, roulette, slots, and more. A penthouse suite is also available, including arcade games, an infinity pool, and other novelty items that can be used to customize a player’s experience. In addition to the casino, there are also a set of associated missions added to the game that can be used to attain a Enus Paragon R Armored vehicle.
Of course, record breaking player counts sound impressive, but may not be indicative of the long-term impact of the opening of the casino. Games often see a spike in returning players when a new patch of content is released, but it is the continuous visits that matter most, especially from consumers who spend their real money in the game.
While the casino appears to be a hit right now, players on various online forums seem to be lamenting the update as largely insufficient in terms of content and replayability. It is being called a missed opportunity, for the most part. The exclusion of games like Texas Hold’em poker - which is available now in the online portion of Red Dead Redemption 2 - is one point brought up often.
Meanwhile, the inclusion of games that mainly rely on luck has some players leaving the casino in frustration. In many ways, the casino feels like a patchwork of minigames that require little input from the user after placing a bet.
With that said, the feelings of the Casino being disappointing to players may be due to the long build up of anticipation for its opening. For years now, shortly after the Online portion of the game launched, the space where the Casino now stands has teased players with signs that read “Coming Soon.” With a seven year long build up, it may have been impossible to live up to most players’ expectations.
Time will tell if the update is considered a success for Rockstar Games. The name of the game is always long-term retention of players, especially those who might want to spend real money to acquire in-game currency. Since the casino feels rather bare-bones at the moment, there is not much incentive for that to occur, or for returning players to stick around. Despite the high player count, the signs are pointing to a hit and miss.