Rockstar Games released a new digital games launcher earlier today on PC, and is offering Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for free to people who download the new client for a limited time. Digital game launchers and digital distribution services have become a talking point in the industry ever since the Epic Games Store began accumulating high-profile timed exclusives, forcing consumers to add the distribution platform's client to their downloaded programs in order to access more content.
The Rockstar Games Launcher will join several other iterations of the service from other publishers and developers, most notably ones from EA Origin and Blizzard's Battle.net, the latter of which seems a strong point of comparison for the new service. Battle.net is used as a storefront for Blizzard games and also congregates them all into one place, often tying in promotions that see players of one game receive bonuses just for playing that are manifested in another game - incentivizing users to leap between games from the same publisher and give them a shot.
The Rockstar Games Launcher is available now for download and will offer GTA San Andreas to consumers who snag it soon - it's unclear exactly how long the promotion will last, but the press release from Rockstar states the game will only be available for a limited time. Rockstar Games Launcher is a new Windows desktop application that will gather all of the Rockstar Games PC collection in one place, including those that were purchased in other digital stores. The Rockstar Games Launcher currently has seven games available for sale, but there are some major ones missing, including Manhunt. The currently listed games are Bully: Scholarship Edition, Max Pain 3: Complete Edition, L.A. Noire: Complete Edition, GTA 3, GTA 5: Premium Edition, and GTA Vice City.
The Rockstar Games Launcher itself is pretty barren of features at the moment, offering the bare minimum of what consumers might expect from a company's launcher. It will be interesting to see how Rockstar Games looks to separate itself from the other competitors with their own launchers, like EA, Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Bethesda. It's also possible consumers should brace themselves for an eventuality where every major publisher has their own game launcher - it seems to be a direction many companies have headed, and even the ones who haven't might be strongly considering it given the fact Rockstar has pushed one out with a relatively small library at release.
Will the Rockstar Games Launcher's free GTA San Andreas offer entice enough people to give the client a shot? The free game is great, but it's also old, and it's unlikely anyone who wanted it on PC doesn't already own it. That being said, Rockstar Games is a publisher with a proven track record of turning online offerings people were skeptical of - GTA Online included - into gold, so it won't surprise anyone if Rockstar Games Launcher is one of the most popular clients in the future.
Source: Rockstar Games