Update July 13th 9:35AM: Fans are saying goodbye to Red Dead Online via a new #RedDeadFuneral hashtag on Twitter. Posts using the hashtag range from respectful and somber through to irreverent, although none of them are likely to make Rockstar reverse its decision and commit once again to regular Red Dead Online updates. Still, maybe Grand Theft Auto 6 will be all the better for it. Small comfort for Red Dead fans, though. Original (unedited) story follows below.
Original story: Rockstar has announced that there will be no more major Red Dead Online updates. The studio says that instead of a major themed content update this year, it'll be focusing on improving existing game modes and adding new Telegram Missions.
Why won't there be any more big Red Dead Online updates?
Past major Red Dead Online updates have included content drops like 2019's Frontier Pursuits or the content update that launched the game out of its beta that same year. Each year, Red Dead Online has received big content drops (although the community's reaction to said drops and their frequency has been less than positive), but this year, Rockstar says it won't be doing anything major for Red Dead Online. In a post on its official website, Rockstar says that as development ramps up on Grand Theft Auto 6, the studio wants to move development resources towards that project in order to make it "the best [entry in the GTA series] it can possibly be". As such, there will be changes to the way Red Dead Online updates work.
According to Rockstar, while seasonal Red Dead Online events and "experience improvements" (read: gameplay tweaks) will still happen, the plan is to "build upon existing modes" and bring more Telegram Missions to the game this year rather than adding anything major. Rockstar also says it's planning to shine a spotlight on community creations and showcase the game's existing content through monthly events. This news has disappointed certain Red Dead Online fans; major fan Twitter account Red Dead News says it's "not the news fans wanted" but that they're glad Rockstar has indicated to its community "what (not) to expect". Of course, Red Dead Online will remain online, and you'll still be able to play it. For now, anyway.
Rockstar is increasing GTA Online payouts
While Red Dead Online winds down (to a certain extent), GTA Online is still going strong. Rockstar is planning an update for the game soon that will expand on Criminal Careers for certain jobs, as well as extra Contact Missions involving a criminal conspiracy. The update will also include oft-requested changes like a reduction to homing missile power and a way to launch Sell Missions within Invite-Only game sessions. In addition, Rockstar is also increasing some GTA Online payouts in order to "reward players of their time" regardless of what activity they choose to engage in. These payouts include boosts for Bodyguards, Associates, and Motorcycle Club members, as well as better payouts for Races, Adversary Modes, and some Heist Finales. Maybe this will help you to get some more use out of that GTA+ subscription.
You can grab Red Dead Online right now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and it's also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S thanks to backwards compatibility. GTA Online is available as part of Grand Theft Auto V across PC and consoles, and you can also grab it as a standalone purchase on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. The current-gen versions of the game have some pretty nifty improvements, so it's well worth giving it a try if you've never played this entry in the series before.