Rockstar Games took its multiplayer servers offline between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday in honor of George Floyd.
“Black Lives Matter,” the official Rockstar Games Twitter account posted at noon on Thursday, continuing:
To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online.
Following the memorial, we hope you will join us in further honoring the many victims of America’s racial injustices by supporting their families, black-owned businesses, those marching on the streets, and coalitions through the organizations listed here: https://www.charitynavigator.org
As of 2:00 p.m., access to its popular online services was temporarily blocked, with an addendum to “please visit Rockstar Support for more details including how you can help.” Users reported that the services were actually still available, so long as they had logged in before the blackout period.
Wait a second, let me get this right. The maker of the GTA series, that glorifies drug dealing, shooting police, and cause violence is honoring the legacy of George Floyd?
— T.R. 🇹 (@TeddyR1899) June 4, 2020
Predictably, the reactions were mixed. And while many seem to support the demonstration, others seem to be resentful for an interruption to service for corporate political messaging. “We should all get $5,000,000 for having to deal with this,” one user suggested, referring to the in-game currency. “Temporarily shutting down online services will not solve ANYTHING! why not just leave them up?”
Using a man’s death to cover service maintenance may the most cynical, gross thing ever.
— Sleezure Time (@Sleezure) June 4, 2020
While some lionized the company for “defending civil rights,” others ruled that a two-hour “moment of silence” was not enough — asking whether the company was interested in more than a performative gesture. “How much $$ are you commiting to @RockstarGames?” one user asked.
“What will this do to remember George Floyd? We play these games to escape the real world,” said another. “This will do nothing for the cause. Just another company trying to seem like it cares. Not good!”