It may have been a long wait for the ardent fans of Grand Theft Auto Online (GTA); however, the game’s casino, the Diamond Casino & Resort, has become a huge hit with the virtual denizens of San Andreas.
During its recent Q2 earnings call, Take-Two Interactive, parent of publisher Rockstar Games said that the casino had increased recurrent consumer spending in the game by 23 percent to a new record.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said, “This update was Grant Theft Auto Online‘s biggest content launch ever, delivering record player engagement across daily, weekly, and monthly active users in July, and then again in August.”
Recurrent consumer spending is used to track revenue resulting from spending on things such as premium currency, along with digital game goods and content, according to Gamasutra.
It is a virtual casino in the Hollywood-like neighborhood of Vinewood in the imaginary city of Los Santos, in the imaginary state of San Andreas — slightly based on Los Angeles and California, respectively.
Five years after the debut of the game, the casino launched in July. A sign saying opening soon” had been dangling over the building throughout that time.
As mentioned in the Casino.org website, it has taken longer for Rockstar to make its casino than it has for Wynn Resorts to make Encore Boston Harbor fully at a cost of $2.5 billion. And before it could lay a single stone, Wynn Resorts had to decontaminate an abandoned chemical plant.
When it finally arrived, The Diamond came complete with new missions, new cars, and other goodies — and, of course, a playable casino floor filled with three-card poker, blackjack, slot machines, and more.
Player’s aren’t able to gamble or cash out real money but they can use hard cash to purchase in-game currency which can then be converted into chips. So the Diamond operates much like a social casino game.
However, Rockstar was very cautious about the casino update because nowadays, in-game microtransactions have become hugely controversial.
Banned in 50 Countries
Rockstar decided to block the casino in more than 50 countries worldwide where social gaming and in-game transactions may face legal issues, including the US state of Hawaii. This was surprising as the company has not been afraid of controversy historically.
This may be why they delayed so much, as Rockstar’s legal execs tried to go through a global regulatory minefield before launching the game.
However, this also frustrated fans who had been waiting five years for the casino, as they found that they had been already blacklisted due to geographical and legal factors without any fault of their own.
Rockstar and Take-Two are not being affected by the blacklist or the general disapproval among gamers against microtransactions. Zelnick said GTA’s performance in Q2, exceeded their expectations owing to the casino “delivering the best quarter yet with respect to daily, weekly, and monthly active users and our best summer ever in terms of new online users and new users overall.”