Video Games

#SaveRedDeadOnline is a cry for support from Red Dead fans online to Rockstar

Red Dead Online fans are tired of Rockstar’s seeming neglect of late, and they’ve made their feelings known on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit with the hashtag #SaveRedDeadOnline.

The hashtag started after Rockstar posted an announcement on January 6 about new content coming to Red Dead Online… although most of those who use the hashtag might be hesitant to call it content. The essence of the update is that it increases the rewards for doing a set of existing activities in Red Dead Online for a while, making it easier to earn gold, experience, items and other currencies. This is all an improvement of things that already exist, rather than anything new.

Announcing enhanced in-game rewards is usually cause for celebration in an online game, but a number of other factors have instead turned it into a societal breaking point. For example, the last actual content update received from Red Dead Online was on July 13, 2021, and it was not received particularly well due to a greater focus on quality of life changes and new missions rather than anything significant or transformative. Prior to that, Red Dead Online received updates about every six to seven months or so, a cadence that was already unhappy with its players.

Regular online game content shown twice a year might look very good, out of the blue. But there is another major factor besides the slow and sluggish updates that fans of Red Dead Online are excited about: its comparison to GTA Online.

GTA Promise

When Red Dead Online debuted in 2019, it was initially intended to follow in GTA Online’s footsteps as a permanent online world for Red Dead Redemption 2 players to sink their teeth into for hundreds of hours, over years of updates. After the success of GTA Online, it seemed certain that Red Dead Online would stand shoulder to shoulder with it as the cowboy-stuffed version of Rockstar’s ongoing mega-money. But in the years since, the differences in support have starkly increased.

Like Red Dead Online, GTA Online also gets major content updates about every six months or so, although their updates are much larger and better received than Red Dead. I just saw one of those major updates back in December, called The Decade, which added a whole new adventure along with the usual list of new weapons, vehicles, and missions. These massive updates prove to be financially successful as well. At the end of 2020, for example, GTA Online had the highest holiday earnings ever thanks to the Diamond Casino update.

Of note is the fact that GTA Online will run for nine years, while Red Dead Online has just turned three. When GTA Online was that age, it was getting between five to eight major updates a year (depending on how you rated a “major” update).

Red is dying online

See the hashtag #SaveRedDeadOnline, which is still going strong days after its debut, reveals a number of mixed feelings. There’s an initial outcry over the lack of meaningful updates in the January 6 post, thinking how pointless it is to earn more XP and gold when there’s nothing new to spend on it. There are requests for certain types of content, such as proper player housing, DLC set in Mexico, more storyline, and even specific bug fixes. There are plenty of memes of course, and plenty of sarcasm directed at GTA Online, although there is also some support from members of the GTA Online community who are aware that their cowboy friends are getting the short end of the stick.

Many tweets seem to simply worry that without major updates, Red Dead Online will die early – a death that Rockstar might endorse with inaction. While meaty content updates are ultimately what they want, the vast majority of users tweeting #SaveRedDeadOnline don’t come across many of the developers’ demands, and they also want to stress that the promise of a wild west world continuing in the GTA Online tradition hasn’t really been broken. Powered by Rockstar and Publisher Take-Two.

IGN has reached out to Rockstar for comment.

Rebecca Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find it on Twitter Tweet embed.

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