If, like thousands of other people, you’ve found yourself frustrated that Red Dead Redemption 2 hasn’t been announced for PC, then rest assured there’s probably a reason for it. Ultimately Rockstar is a studio that knows how to get results and it isn’t prone to leaving money on the table. Looking at metrics from Grand Theft Auto 5 however, we get a pretty good idea of just why Rockstar is skipping Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC for the time being. Join us, for we be going whale hunting.
So it probably hasn’t gone unnoticed to most of us that Grand Theft Auto Online has been a storming success. It originally arrived late and with tepid reviews; after all, the single player was the main event. Yet over the course of nearly three years, GTA Online has turned into an absolute cash cow for Rockstar and publisher Take Two. Content is being added almost constantly, supplemented by a plentiful supply of in-game micro-transactions. Love it or hate it, it’s a system that’s worked, as Rockstar bathed in the salty tears.
But what does this all have to do with a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2? OK, take a look at the chart below. This is taken from data obtained by Arcade Superdata Metrics. This charts total ‘Additional Content Revenue’. Which is to say any money earned by Rockstar for GTA 5 which didn’t come from the original game sold. So any DLC, microtransactions etc.
While the chart is skewed a little by the fact we haven’t got the actual figures for how much Grand Theft Auto 5 Online has earned on each platform, it does paint quite the picture. Despite shifting millions of units on PC since its launch in early 2015, console gamers are spending multitudes more on additional content. In fact, what you’re looking at is roughly 12x more income from console players than on PC.
There’s much we can surmise about this but not much we know for sure. For whatever reason, console players are more willing to dispense with money. There could be loads more console players. PC gamers might have more and cheaper games to play instead. The console eco-system might be more pre-disposed to DLC. Perhaps so-called 'whales' (big spenders who spend a disproportionate amount to the majority) are more prevalent on console. Whatever the case, for GTA 5’s long tail, Rockstar is making heaps more on console.
Which brings us to Red Dead Redemption 2. A PC version is surely coming eventually. It would be totally foolish not to. But for now, with the resources Rockstar has available, it’s going to be financially advantageous to them to get the PS4 and Xbox One versions out the door as soon as possible so those post launch transactions can start rolling in. Because you can bet your bottom dollar Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to have heaps of online integration. Rockstar has seen the light, and the light says $39.99 for the Megalodon Cash Pack.
What do you make of Rockstar's decision? Is favouring a console audience going to affect Red Dead Redemption 2's sales or income? Let us know what you think.