Rockstar joins the PC gaming platform wars with the 'Rockstar Games Launcher'

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

The debate surrounding whether this trend is a positive thing for consumers is a heated one, and we won't be taking a side there. Instead, we're here to be the bearers of good or bad news, depending on your perspective: Rockstar is following in the footsteps of the companies mentioned above with a launcher of its own, aptly dubbed the "Rockstar Games Launcher."

For now, we're unsure whether or not Rockstar plans to make any of its titles exclusive to the Launcher. Perhaps they'll go that route with a future Red Dead Redemption 2 PC port -- the timing of this Launcher's release could be further evidence of such a port -- but as far as other, existing games go, we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Moving on to the launcher itself, there isn't much to talk about. It's very barebones at the moment, and it has even fewer features than the Epic Games Store. However, Rockstar doesn't actually sell too many games on PC, so for now, we suppose the service is functional enough.

On the Store page, you'll see the likes of GTA: Vice City, Bully: Scholarship Edition, GTA V, L.A. Noire, and -- of course -- GTA: Online's Shark Cards. Once you've purchased a game, it goes to a minimalist "Games" library view, where you can either install or play any content you've purchased. There doesn't appear to be any further customization or tweaking options available at the moment.

To sign in to the Rockstar Games Launcher, you'll need an active Social Club account. Once you've signed up or logged in, you'll be eligible for a complimentary copy of GTA: San Andreas, but this offer is "limited" (we don't know when it will end).

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ShagnWagn

TS Guru
Don't forget the blizzard launcher.

Take me back to the time when all you had to do was click on a game shortcut and not have to be online. I guess that is before Half-Life 2, as it tried to force a mandatory Steam(ing pile) launcher. If you tried to uninstall steam, it would delete every single game from your entire hard drive... games not even linked to steam. Ah, the memories... Now if you uninstall steam, you lose every single game you ever bought on their platform. Your hands are tied.

"Once you've signed up or logged in, you'll be eligible for a complimentary copy of GTA: San Andreas"

No thanks. I'll keep on using my standalone install.

Edit: HL2, not HL1. Thanks Catweazle
 
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Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
Don't forget the blizzard launcher.

Now if you uninstall steam, you lose every single game you ever bought on their platform. Your hands are tied.
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Don't get me wrong, I personally agree with the spirit of everything you've said here, but this isn't entirely accurate. A surprising number of Steam games are actually DRM-free under the hood, and do not need Steam to run after the initial install. You can move the files around at will; no need for a middleman.

But yes, the majority of Steam games (Especially "AAA" ones) require the platform.
 

Ren128

TS Rookie
Bethesda did the same thing a few months back with free copy of the older Elder Scroll game (can't recall which one, not Skyrim).

Anyways, I would be really surprised if PC version of RDR2 wasn't exclusive to this platform, at least at launch.
 

TheBigFatClown

TS Evangelist
I'm for anything that encourages Rockstar to release on PC... come on RDR2!!!
That's actually a good point. One person who is looking at this move as 'the glass half full'. :)

I'm not crazy about the way the Internet is being used "against" the consumer to milk consumers from the cradle to the grave anymore than anybody else. But a free AAA game is a free AAA game. So, I have to give this a thumbs up.
 

Plutoisaplanet

TS Addict
How is this new? Even when you installed games from CD, autorun would start a launcher regardless of the game being on your PC. It would attempt to have you register your license online and purchase other products online.

For PC game studio stores, EA has has Origin, ijji had Reactor, Aeria has Ignite, Blizzard has Battle.net, Ubisoft has Uplay. I’m sure there are plenty more. If you buy a game through the studio, you’d need these apps to play it. It’s been like this for years.
 

Suisam

TS Enthusiast
I will pay a one time fee for 1 launcher that rules them all. Im sick to death of having to have this installed for that and this other thing for that other thing.

Dividing the PC gaming community with launchers is going to be a negative for many people choosing console over PC because of it and pissing off PC based people at the same time.

Steam had it right in the beginning except for their $$ cut of each purchase as its a little high and driving companies to make their own.

Whats next? is Apogee going to launch their own as well?
 

BSim500

TS Evangelist
Every time a company adopts a stupid proprietary launcher I stop paying for their products.
Unfortunately even Steam is "proprietary". People have just grown so accustomed to its market dominance and lack of post 2004 choice for most non-EA / non-Ubisoft AAA's that they stop seeing it or remember how its own birth was on the back of being a widely despised DRM-wrapper for Half Life 2 (link). A genuine non-proprietary launcher would be something vendor-neutral and open-source like PlayNite (link), which would be great if it worked natively with all stores (as in "you only need that one launcher installed", not just a "meta-launcher that launches other launchers that still need installing") but obviously won't work due to that DRM-aphilia (the main reason why virtually all store-front run launchers / clients (excluding GOG Galaxy) are compulsory and not optional).

Same for GOG Galaxy 2.0, I admire what they're trying to do with the "all my games in one place" thing, but people angry that they still need Steam, uPlay, etc, installed are angry at the wrong people. Ongoing market fragmentation of compulsory store-front run clients is the collective fault of those who force it in the first place (Steam, Origin, Ubisoft, Blizzard, etc), not the fault of the one store that doesn't (GOG).
 
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Catweazle

TS Booster
Don't forget the blizzard launcher.

Take me back to the time when all you had to do was click on a game shortcut and not have to be online. I guess that is before Half-Life 1, as it tried to force a mandatory Steam(ing pile) launcher.
Half-Life 2 was the one that launched with Steam. Half-Life came on a regular CD-ROM long before Steam ever existed, and was published by Sierra.
 
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kira setsu

TS Addict
I'm for anything that encourages Rockstar to release on PC... come on RDR2!!!
That's actually a good point. One person who is looking at this move as 'the glass half full'. :)

I'm not crazy about the way the Internet is being used "against" the consumer to milk consumers from the cradle to the grave anymore than anybody else. But a free AAA game is a free AAA game. So, I have to give this a thumbs up.
not really a good point

everyone knows rockstar will release rdr2 on pc in the future, they learned that gamers are ultra gullible with gta5.

R* is waiting for the ps5/xnextbox so they can pump out a slightly better version of rdr2 that they'll THEN follow with the probably definitive named rdr2 pc version, and they know it's perfectly fine to do because gamers loudly proclaim they'll buy the original version and a later even more nextgen version, a pc version, a physical copy to place on the shelf, a copy for the cat...etc.

on another note, does the freebie san andreas have actually working controller support? if not then whats the point.
 

ShagnWagn

TS Guru
Don't get me wrong, I personally agree with the spirit of everything you've said here, but this isn't entirely accurate. A surprising number of Steam games are actually DRM-free under the hood, and do not need Steam to run after the initial install. You can move the files around at will; no need for a middleman.

But yes, the majority of Steam games (Especially "AAA" ones) require the platform.
Oh really? I haven't really followed enough to know this. Thank you! I have turned into a casual gamer for some years now. Mainly because in general, I can't play games to know if I really like them enough for purchase. Is there some way I can find out which ones are DRM free? I have not come across it or I wouldn't have made that as a statement.
 
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BSim500

TS Evangelist
Oh really? I haven't really followed enough to know this. Thank you! I have turned into a casual gamer for some years now. Mainly because in general, I can't play games to know if I really like them enough for purchase. Is there some way I can find out which ones are DRM free? I have not come across it or I wouldn't have made that as a statement.
Sadly only around 5% or so of Steam's catalogue is "DRM-Free" and few of those are AAA's. This is the most updated list though:-
https://steam.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_DRM-free_games
 
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poohbear

TS Evangelist
Most video game companies are publicly traded companies, so they have to maximize their profits for their investors in order for their stock to do well. Using Steam, and giving them 30% of sales, is not maximizing profits.
 

mrvco

TS Rookie
That's actually a good point. One person who is looking at this move as 'the glass half full'. :)

I'm not crazy about the way the Internet is being used "against" the consumer to milk consumers from the cradle to the grave anymore than anybody else. But a free AAA game is a free AAA game. So, I have to give this a thumbs up.
I gave up belly-aching over launchers after the third one. Even standalone games (if those still exist) have what amounts to a built-in patcher and launcher, even though, apparently, it is not perceived that way. But yeah, buggy and/or poorly designed launchers need to be called out so the issues can be addressed.