Rumors suggesting Grand Theft Auto six will incorporate cryptocurrencies surface every once in a while, fueling expectations that the highly-anticipated game may include digital assets as rewards for players, and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) as in-game goods or even as part of the storyline’s humor.

The most recent speculations in the crypto community emerged last week on Twitter, but there’s no indication that Rockstar Games — creator of the Grand Theft Auto franchise — plans to jump into Web3. Cointelegraph looked at the latest rumors and facts about the possibility of an upcoming crypto GTA.

Play-to-earn is no longer seen as an efficient business model

Play-to-earn (P2E) games allow users to earn cryptocurrencies by playing games. The business model, however, has become unsustainable, despite the excitement around blockchain-based games.

In April, at NFT.NYC, game publishers and developers highlighted that the industry is exploring alternatives to replace the P2E business model amid the downturn in crypto prices.

“It’s a model that is not sustainable at all,” said Chase Freo, CEO of gaming platform OP Games, during a panel at the event, providing the example of Axie Infinity’s shift in some of its flagship titles.

During the panel discussion, Paul Flanagan, the head of business development at Estonian mobile games developer CM Games, voiced his opinion on the core issue surrounding P2E models. He described them as “zero-sum” and highlighted their resemblance to Ponzi schemes. Flanagan mentioned that while branding sponsorship could potentially serve as a viable revenue source, its effectiveness in practice remains to be seen.

According to Statista, Grand Theft Auto V has sold over 180 million units worldwide since 2015, making it one of the most successful game titles ever released. Based on estimates of the revenue of Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive, over $8 billion has been generated by the franchise in the past decade. GTA is a highly profitable franchise, and shifting to a P2E model would be risky for Rockstar.

Grand Theft Auto V generated lifetime unit sales worldwide as of May 2023. Source: Take-Two Interactive, Statista.

Rockstar’s NFT ban

In November 2022, Rockstar updated its website to clarify that fan-operated Grand Theft Auto V servers could no longer utilize crypto assets, specifically NFTs.

A fan-operated server allows modifications to a PC game and interaction between players. As for Grand Theft Auto, some servers implemented NFTs to give players ownership of in-game goods, such as cars and weapons. Rockstar’s ban was a setback to fans hoping for NFTs in the franchise.

Lastly, the franchise is known for its humorous style. Many crypto enthusiasts believe that the next Grand Theft Auto could include crypto elements in its narrative, which would justify the years of rumors about the game taking a crypto approach.

Cointelegraph reached out to Rockstar regarding the rumors but did not receive an immediate response. The company has neither denied nor confirmed GTA six’s crypto status. The title is expected to be released in 2024.

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