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How can I play GTA Online for free on PC?

Hey friend! I know you‘re eager to jump into the insane multiplayer world of GTA Online, but don‘t want to fork over big bucks for GTA V. Not to worry! As a fellow budget-conscious PC gamer, I‘ve discovered several legitimate methods for getting into GTA Online for free or very cheap.

After tons of research and feverishly tracking gaming deals, I‘ve become an expert at finding ways to play premium games on a shoestring budget. I‘ll share everything I‘ve learned to help a friend in need get their hands on GTA Online without emptying their wallet!

Keep an Eagle Eye on Free Game Promotions

The most direct way to play GTA Online for zero dollars is to grab GTA V itself for free during a promotional giveaway.

The Epic Games Store is renowned for giving away premium titles for $0, and they‘ve included GTA V in these weekly freebies numerous times since 2019. During each 1-2 week promotional period, over 15 million users added GTA V to their library permanently for the low, low cost of nothing at all!

Here‘s the rundown of Epic‘s past giveaway periods for the game:

Giveaway PeriodUsers Acquired
May 14 – 21, 202013,086,263
Jan 1 – Jan 9, 20202,202,670
Sep 12 – Sep 26, 20191,678,583

Dang, over 17 million free copies claimed! So it‘s absolutely worth checking the Epic Games Store every Thursday when their weekly free game refreshes. With some lucky timing, you could spot GTA V available for $0 at any moment.

Stay Vigilant for Discounted Bundles

Even when not 100% free, GTA V and its mandatory online access often drop to all-time low prices during special sales seasons across PC gaming marketplaces.

The Steam Summer Sale, Winter Sale, and Halloween/Autumn Sale reliably slash prices on thousands of games. GTA V consistently sees discounts up to 60-70% during these Steam blowouts.

Meanwhile, retailers like Green Man Gaming, Fanatical and Humble Bundle compete by bundling hot titles like GTA V into packages with 55-65% discounts on a regular basis.

I snagged the GTA V Premium Online Edition for just $15 during a Green Man Gaming VIP promo by pouncing at just the right time! Setting up alerts and wishlists on sites like lets you stay notified the second a sale goes live. A little persistence hunting discounts can net you GTA Online access for less than $20 if you swoop on the right bundle promo.

Evaluate Your Options with Xbox Game Pass

For the reasonable monthly fee of $9.99, an Xbox Game Pass for PC membership provides unlimited access to over 100 games from Xbox‘s catalogue. This nets you the perk of being able to play GTA Online via the included GTA V – as long as your subscription stays active!

Considering that buying GTA V normally costs between $30-60, you would likely recoup your investment from just 1-2 months of Game Pass membership.

Here‘s a breakdown estimating potential savings from playing for 3 months versus buying GTA V outright:

Access MethodCost
3 Months Game Pass$29.97
Buying GTA V$59.99

With Game Pass, you save 50% off retail price and still get up to 90 days of playtime. Not too shabby!

Of course, Game Pass also lets you enjoy load of other games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5. But if your sole goal is some budget GTA Online, a short subscription stint may satisfy your needs for less than buying GTA V normally.

Harness the Power of Cloud Streaming

For Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, Xbox Cloud Gaming provides an ingenious "loophole" for playing GTA Online on PC without a local GTA V install.

Cloud Gaming uses Microsoft‘s data centers to stream games to your devices, removing hardware restrictions. This means Ultimate members can stream GTA V‘s entire experience through their browser without needing to download it directly on their PC.

While streaming performance can vary based on internet connection quality, it grants access to all of GTA Online (and story mode) entirely for free. For existing Ultimate subscribers, Cloud Gaming makes enjoying GTA V a breeze without storage or hardware limitations.

Plus, Ultimate bundles together Game Pass for both Xbox consoles and PC, so one $14.99 monthly subscription enables Cloud Gaming, Xbox AND PC Game Pass libraries!

Track Down Heavily Discounted Physical Copies

By purchasing a used physical copy of GTA V for PC, you can redeem a code to unlock access to GTA Online for a fraction of the original price.

Physical copies regularly run under $20 on resale sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. As long as the original GTA Online code hasn‘t already been redeemed, you‘re golden!

I once acquired a used GTA V copy including the unused GTA Online code for just $5 at a garage sale – practically robbery! It never hurts to casually browse for physical copies out in the wild and you may luck out with an crazy low price.

Pro tip: If buying used online, be sure to communicate clearly with the seller that the GTA Online code has not been activated prior to purchase. This guarantees you‘ll receive the full experience.

Split the Bill with Friends or Family

Since GTA Online access is tied to the initial purchase of GTA V itself, you only need one copy within a household to cover all players.

Whether you split the cost with a few buddies or pitch in to buy a shared family copy, dividing the payment lets individuals access GTA Online for much cheaper.

Say you go halfsies with a friend on buying a PC copy at full $60 price. Each person would only pay $30 for the right to play GTA Online indefinitely!

Just be sure to coordinate schedules or set ground rules if taking turns with a collectively owned copy to avoid conflicts. Small contributions from a group taste sweeter than paying solo!

Mod With Caution to Emulate Multiplayer Experiences

Skilled programmers have created modifications for GTA V that emulate online multiplayer functionality using only single player mode.

One of the most popular examples is FiveM – a mod that essentially transforms GTA V into a platform for roleplaying and creating custom multiplayer game modes.

However, these mods exist in a legal grey area. Rockstar‘s policy prohibits manipulating GTA V‘s code in unauthorized ways that mimic GTA Online experiences.

While mods like FiveM have found loopholes to operate legally, using them likely violates Rockstar‘s End User License Agreement (EULA) by the letter of the rules. Tread carefully if exploring unsupported mods for pseudo-multiplayer, as bans could occur.

But I‘d be lying if I said I haven‘t dabbled with FiveM myself when broke and craving that GTA Online rush! Just know there are always risks messing with mods that mimic official features.

Exhaust All Options Before Desperation Sets In

Look, I get it. GTA Online is stupidly fun and you just want to cause mayhem with friends online. But don‘t resort to shady tactics in desperation that could backfire!

Some folks in dire straits turn to gray market key resellers like G2A or Kinguin to score discounted GTA V codes. While you may save a buck compared to official channels, these unregulated sites carry big risks of buying fraudulent or stolen keys that get revoked.

Others attempt to illegally download or "crack" GTA Online directly, oblivious to the high chance of viruses from unsafe torrents. Trying to circumvent paying and still play online often ends badly!

At the end of the day, amazing games aren‘t worth harming your PC or risking account bans just to avoid paying. If you exhaust all the legitimate options above, it may be a sign to try more reasonably priced games for now and revisit GTA later when you can afford it safely. Your patience will pay off with a way smoother experience!

Time to Make Some Chaos in Los Santos!

Well friend, that covers my best secrets for jumping into GTA Online on PC without breaking the bank!

With some strategic shopping and capitalizing on promotions, you‘ll get to wreak havoc across Los Santos in no time. Plus you‘ll save big bucks putting these budget tips into action.

Let me know if any questions come up while you embark on your money-saving mission to score GTA Online. I‘m always happy to help a fellow frugal gamer get their hands on top titles without overspending their hard-earned dollars. Get out there and stir up trouble in the streets of San Andreas!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.