As Take Two buys up Zynga, Red Dead Online players rally after months of poor support from Rockstar

Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

What you need to know

  • Red Dead Online is an online multiplayer cowboy sandbox from the developers of Grand Theft Auto.
  • The game hasn't had a meaningful update for several months.
  • Players are rallying around the hashtag #SaveRedDeadOnline, which is now trending on Twitter.
  • Red Dead Online's publisher Take Two just announced the purchase of Zynga, at a valuation estimated to be over $12 billion dollars.

Rockstar Games is not the studio it once was. Known for mega-hits like Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and Max Payne, the publisher subsidiary has gradually reduced its footprint in recent years, focusing its efforts almost entirely on GTA Online. The gaps between the development of new games seem to grow ever larger, and has become a bit of a meme in recent years, with Grand Theft Auto 6 nowhere to be found.

Even still, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online remain hugely popular service games. As sandbox experiences, there's virtually nothing out there that offers a similar experience. Red Dead Online is the ultimate cowboy simulation experience, but Rockstar has, over the years, apparently wound down the development of the game. The most recent update, Blood Money, was all the way back in July 2021, and even that wasn't exactly well-received by the community.

Today, I noticed #SaveRedDeadOnline was trending on Twitter. Fans of the game are fighting to be heard by a largely radio-silent Rockstar, whose only communique on Red Dead Online was to reveal a lackluster bonus EXP event for the next few weeks. Fans have, apparently, had enough.

By comparison, Grand Theft Auto Online receives far larger updates, adding new items, mission types, and other features to keep players engaged and returning to the game. A recent GTA:O update, The Contract, even featured cameos from the likes of Dr. Dre, It makes sense that fans of Red Dead feel a tad neglected.

Take-Two Interactive in general seems to have been struggling to find its place in an era of subscription services and service-driven games. Despite the runaway success of GTAV and GTA Online, the company's share price has dipped a fair bit over the past year, as it grapples with a general lack of direction and the catastrophe that was the recent Grand Theft Auto Trilogy remakes. Although, hilariously, as I finished penning this sentence, it was revealed that the publisher is buying up controlling shares in mobile publisher Zynga at a valuation of $12.7 billion dollars. Perhaps that's where the budget for Red Dead Online went? (Jokes.)

It remains to be seen if Rockstar will respond to the #SaveRedDeadOnline outcry, but we've reached out to try and grab a comment from them.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!