GTA 5: should you transfer your GTA Online character over to the PC version?

By Patrick Garratt, Thursday, 9 April 2015 16:41 GMT

Decision time again. With the PC version of GTA 5 finally launching next week, we look at the pros and cons of making a permanent GTA Online character transfer from console.

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Should you buy the PC version of GTA 5 next week? Of course you should, assuming you have the gear to run it properly. But buying the latest version and permanently transferring your progress over from GTA Online are separate concerns. You can move your characters from any of the previous console versions, but there’s no going back. Once it’s done it’s done, and your virtual crime doll will have a new home until, presumably, GTA 6 comes along.

So. Should you transfer your existing GTA 5 game to PC? As with all the things, the answer depends on your circumstances. The decision will be made depending on both your history and current playing relationship with GTA 5. Check our reasoning below and see if you’re going to be making the jump next week.

Before we start, we’re asking here if you should transfer your GTA Online game permanently from console to PC. If the question is, “Should I buy GTA 5 on PC?”, then the answer is yes. You can play the PC version as if you’ve never played it before, starting the campaign from scratch and launching a new career in GTA Online. Your existing GTA Online status will remain unaffected on PS4, Xbox One, PS3 or Xbox 360. But should PC become the new home for your treasured console toons? There are a bunch of reasons why and why not, so think carefully before you make the leap.

The short answer, as you’ll see in the conclusion below, is to try the PC version and wait until you’re completely sure it’s the right move for you.

Mull the following. Should you permanently transfer your GTA 5 Online character to the PC version?

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Yes, if:

  • You’re deadly serious about having GTA Online in 4K resolution: GTA 5’s PC version grants 4K resolution and triple monitor support, making it by far the most graphically expansive version of Rockstar’s masterpiece. If the only acceptable future for your maxed character is across three screens on your desktop, then away you go.
  • You want GTA Online in 60fps: If the 30fps you get on the Xbox One and PS4 versions regularly offends your need to have all your games as beautifully presented as possible, you may need to move your existing GTA Online activities over to PC. In this case, however, we’d absolutely recommend starting a fresh character and putting in some hours before making the permanent switch. As powerful as your frame-based morals are, you may simply not like playing GTA 5 on PC.
  • You’re a modder: This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re a serious modder and you’re plans to apply your skills to GTA 5 for fun, fame and potential glory outweigh your need to be surrounded by existing social networks to complete heists and other in-game activities, you should seriously consider making the permanent trip to PC. You can’t mod the Xbox One version, after all.
  • You’re a keen Snapmatic, video or documentary creative: This one’s going to ultimately rest on whether or not your work revolves around being with friends unable or unwilling to make the transition to the desktop, but the GTA 5’s PC version is, without debate, the best-looking incarnation. As well as having the best resolution and “graphics,” the PC version comes with a platform-exclusive video editing suite and, obviously, the highest frame-rate. The best-looking media will come from the PC version. If you want to be in with a shot of creating it, you’ll need to think seriously about importing all your cash, vehicles and weapons.
  • You’ve only played GTA 5 casually on consoles: You bought the PS360 version in 2013, got halfway through the campaign, started a GTA Online character, did some half-arsed levelling then went to the pub. Then it launched on PS4 and Xbox One and you did something similar and grabbed a few more levels. You should probably port to PC, assuming you have a decent rig. You don’t really care about existing social aspects, you don’t have strong roots in any of the previous versions and you have a non-maxed avatar you never look at anymore. Porting it over will just save time as you continue to play.

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No, if:

  • You’ve been playing GTA 5 regularly since 2013: If you’ve been battering GTA 5 for the past two years, the PC version is going to be little more than a technical novelty. You may well be over rank 200 and have only just juggled with the decision to either move your GTA Online progress to PS4 or Xbox One. Don’t transfer to PC. In all likelihood, you’re going to find yourself standing in a pretty wasteland. Get the new version, goggle at the visuals then get back to business on your console of choice.
  • You’re a heavy GTA Online player: It’s difficult to recommend a permanent character transfer to PC if you’ve already dropped hundreds (thousands?) of hours on console leveling. The next-gen versions of GTA Online are only now starting to fully populate. It could take many months for the PC version to come to life. You don’t know how well the online side of GTA 5’s going to perform on PC any more than anyone else, and you have no idea whether or not there’s going to be a solid community of players elsewhere. Try the PC version, of course, but you’ll need hours of play on a new toon before you’re ready to decide whether or not to port high level characters from console.
  • You’re already part of an active, entrenched community: If you’re part of an established crew and all your friends are playing on a specific console platform, transferring to PC wholesale is as logical as sleeping backwards. Wait. If your regular buddies all make the leap together, then consider it. If not, don’t.
  • You’ve already made the jump to next-gen consoles: You may well have only just bumped up to PS4 or Xbox One, and you’ve probably waded through endless hours of loading screens and connection failures to rebuild your crew in a new shiny home. Do it again after only a few months? Nope. Stay put and see what happens. If the PC version and its community explodes into life in the coming weeks and months, then you can make a joint decision about where to spend your time. Until it does, don’t make any rash decisions.

Conclusion: You don’t have to permanently transfer your GTA Online character from console to PC in order to play the new version next week. Start a new character in GTA Online from scratch. Given there’s no requirement for you to make a forever jump, we recommend you get the PC version and play it until you’re absolutely sure of your preferred GTA 5 playing environment before porting a high level avatar. Should you decide to port from, say, PS4 to PC, there’s no return. Don’t press the button unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want.

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