Rockstar has clarified its policy around Grand Theft Auto Online role-playing servers, a move that has caused some consternation among the huge community that plays GTA Online this way, but seems to have been fueled by an isolated server set up to promote rapper. Yep: take a bow Lil Durk, if that’s your real name.
from GTA Online new roleplay server policy was posted on November 18 and is, as you might expect, rather legal. It begins by saying that Rockstar believes in “reasonable fan creativity” and that it hopes role-playing servers will continue to “thrive in a safe and friendly manner for years to come.”
It says the things it wants to target and remove from any association with GTA Online is:
- misuse of Rockstar Games trademarks or game intellectual property (IP)
- entry or misuse of any other IP in the project, including any other Rockstar IP, real-world brands, characters, trademarks or music
- commercial exploitation, including the sale of “loot boxes” for real currency or its in-game equivalent, the sale of virtual currency, monetization through corporate sponsorships or in-game integrations, or the use of cryptocurrencies or cryptoassets (e.g. “NFTs”)
- create new games, stories, missions or maps
- interfere with our official multiplayer or online services, including Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online.
Most of them are pretty self-explanatory, but number three is almost certainly the trigger for this clarification. In October, a press release announced that “Lil Durk combines music and gaming with the latest GTA-based NFT drop”. It said the rapper would be releasing a “Trenches Pass” that would give fans access to a “pre-sale,” an NFT that offered exclusive access to a GTA Online role-playing server. Apparently there was also some kind of loot box element in this pass.
This becomes a problem for any game that allows players to set up their own servers, with Minecraft in particular battling various attempts to associate the game with blockchain and NFTs. It’s easy to see that people would get confused as to whether a GTA server with NFTs was official or not, and Rockstar clearly doesn’t want people selling things off their baby’s back.
Rockstar reportedly forced Lil Durk to shut down its GTA Role Play server “Trenches” pic.twitter.com/eMlJCGVjUiNovember 20, 2022
A social media post announced that the Trenches server went down yesterday after Take Two’s friendly lawyers reached out. “It has been brought to our attention that we have been notified [sic] from the legal counsel of Take Two Interactive Software Inc., the parent company of Rockstar Games Inc. We have been asked to stop all activities of Trenches […] We have no choice but to comply with their demands.”
So much for Lil Durk, we hardly knew you. The statement does say they will try to work something out with Rockstar and Take Two, but good luck with that.
As for the wider GTA role-playing community, Rockstar’s policy clarification seems nothing to worry about. The role-playing side of this game is arguably part of the reason it has such a long tail, remains a huge draw on Twitch, and it would be counterproductive to go after something that’s arguably part of the series since they started PC To hit. This is about chasing those who are trying to sell things because of GTA Online’s success, essentially, or trying to suggest an association that isn’t there. Because this is not a big change: GTA Online makes half a billion dollars a yeareven though it’s still a hot mess.