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Ex-Rockstar dev explains why GTA 6 will focus on PS5

Grand Theft Auto 6 already looks to be a stunning experience, though a former Rockstar developer suggests it's designed for PS5 before Xbox.

GTA 6 PS5 vs Xbox: Lucia looking to the right, with an Xbox logo covered with a red cross on the left and a PlayStation logo on the right, covered with a green tick.

Since the release of the GTA 6 trailer, the hype has only heightened even more, with fans pouring over every frame for details in its glorious graphical fidelity and visual design. However, a former Rockstar developer reveals that the studio has long prioritized Sony’s PlayStation consoles over the competition, hinting that GTA 6 is a PS5-first game, with Xbox trailing behind.

That’s not to say that GTA 6 won’t be a visually stunning experience on Xbox, as this ex-Rockstar developer claims GTA 6’s graphics will look “incredible” on PS5 and Xbox alike. After all, Rockstar Games has always pushed the boundaries when it comes to presentation, (think back to Red Dead Redemption 2’s weirdly realistic horse testicles), so we can’t wait to explore the GTA 6 map on both PS5 and Xbox.

With that said though, former Rockstar animator Mike York, who has worked on both GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2, has revealed that PlayStation is the main platform regarding the development of Rockstar’s games. As York explains, “everybody is playing on PlayStation”, so Rockstar and other developers would “focus all their energy on making sure the PlayStation port and the PlayStation game worked really well”. After all, PlayStation has been the primary platform for players in the past and this has only solidified with the powerful PS5. York goes on to point out that Rockstar would then “port it to the Xbox” at the same time, with the PlayStation version leading the way in terms of graphical fidelity and performance.

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“When I was working over on GTA 5, for instance, [Rockstar] was concentrating on the PS3 and the Xbox version at the time”, York claims, noting that it was “mainly pushing the PS3 to the limit because the PS3 was kind of better hardware at the time.”

Given the increased power and popularity of the PS5 over the Xbox Series X|S, it holds up that this process remains the same, with Rockstar likely prioritizing PS5 performance to set the bar for team green. York explains that once “it’s playing really good, it has good FPS, very few bugs”, you can release the game on console before then focusing on the PC port, revealing why the GTA 6 PC version is currently nowhere to be seen.

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Rockstar’s process of focusing on PS5 over the competition is reflective of the industry at large, with Sony’s console leading the charge in terms of developer interest. As revealed in the GDC State of the Game Industry 2023 report, 46% of developers involved were most interested in PS5, while only 33% voted for Xbox Series X|S, a gap which has only narrowly closed since 2021.

With the PS5 setting the bar across the industry, at least when it comes to console-focused games, it’s not all that unusual for Rockstar to likely focus on developing the PS5 version first and foremost. We only hope that team green can keep up when it comes to performance when the GTA 6 release date drops at long last, as GTA 5 looked slightly better on PS3 compared to Xbox 360. Nevertheless, no matter what platform you play on, GTA 6 is shaping up to be one of the best games and best open world games of all time on PS5 and Xbox, just like its predecessor.