The short answer is no, Grand Theft Auto V is not free on Steam. It is a paid game that you must purchase in order to download and play. However, there have been limited-time promotions in the past offering Grand Theft Auto V for free on other PC platforms, so players continue to wonder if it will someday be free on Steam as well.
While Grand Theft Auto V is not currently free, there are often opportunities to get it at a discounted price during Steam sales. So whether you‘re a first-time player or a long-time fan looking to play again on PC, here is a detailed look at the options for getting Grand Theft Auto V for free or cheap on Steam and other PC platforms.
A Look Back: When GTA V Was Temporarily Free
Let‘s start with a look back at the major promotion that sparked ongoing curiosity about whether Grand Theft Auto V will someday be free again.
In May 2020, the Epic Games Store offered Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Edition for free for one week only. During this time, over 7 million copies of the game were claimed by players. This exposed the game to a whole new audience of PC gamers who wondered if it would become free on Steam too.
Here are some key stats on Epic‘s massive GTA V free promotion:
- Dates: May 14-21, 2020
- Copies claimed: Over 7 million
- Peak concurrent players: Over 245,000 on May 15
- Revenue lost by Epic: Estimated $11 million
This promotion gave GTA V some renewed momentum almost 7 years after its original release. But unfortunately for Steam users, it has not gone free on Steam since then.
Recent Steam Sale Prices
While Grand Theft Auto V has not been given away for free on Steam, there are regular sales offering between 50-67% off the original $29.99 USD price:
Based on this pattern of at least a 50% discount every 2-3 months, budget-minded gamers can pick up the game for as little as $10-15 if they time it right.
While these sale prices aren‘t free, they do offer substantial savings off the original price. And you‘re guaranteed to get the game for 50% off or more if you watch for seasonal Steam sales.
Why GTA V Won‘t Be Free on Steam Anytime Soon
Though many players continue to hope Grand Theft Auto V will one day be free on Steam, the reality is that is highly unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future for a few reasons:
It‘s still a top-selling game – Despite being originally released in 2013, GTA V continues to sell extremely well when discounted on Steam. There‘s no incentive for Rockstar to give away a game still capable of millions in sales revenue.
Active online community – With a huge community still actively playing GTA Online, Rockstar generates revenue through in-game microtransactions they would lose out on if the base game was permanently free.
Building anticipation for GTA VI – While not confirmed, GTA VI is in development and likely a few years away still. Keeping GTA V paid keeps the appetite strong for when the next numbered sequel does arrive.
Of course there‘s always the possibility of a limited-time free promotion when GTA VI nears release. But the odds of it being permanently free are incredibly low given how strong its paid sales and online engagement remain.
Tips for Getting GTA V for Free Legally
While an indefinite free deal on Steam seems unlikely, you aren‘t completely out of luck if you want to get Grand Theft Auto V for free right now. Here are a few legitimate ways to score the game at no cost:
1. Epic Games Store giveaways – GTA V already went free on Epic once before, so keep watch for potential future promotions, free weeks, or coupon discounts.
2. Gift cards – Build up credit through survey sites like Swagbucks and redeem towards a free GTA V Steam gift card.
3. Hardware bundles – Look for GPUs or gaming rigs that offer the game as a free bundled bonus.
4. Giveaways & contests – Enter gaming giveaways and contests where GTA V is offered as one of the prizes.
5. Check game key sites – Occasionally game key sellers like Eneba offer 100% discount coupons that can be applied towards GTA V. These are legit keys purchased in bulk during sales.
6. Rockstar Launcher – Linking your Steam account to Rockstar allows cross-play. There‘s an outside chance of a free promo on Rockstar‘s launcher at some point.
The catch with all these options is you have to be vigilant and patient for deals and offers to pop up. But persistence and good timing can pay off to get you Grand Theft Auto V for free if you really want it!
Maximize Your Savings During Steam Sales
If you don‘t manage to score GTA V for outright free, the next best thing is buying it at a heavily discounted price during one of Steam‘s major seasonal sales:
- Summer Sale (June-July) – Best chance for highest 67% discount
- Winter Sale (December-January) – Expect at least 50% off
- Spring Sale (March-April) – Usually 50% off recently
- Autumn Sale (November) – Another good chance for up to 60% off
Here are some tips to maximize your savings when Grand Theft Auto V goes on sale again:
- Add it to your Steam wishlist to get notified of price drops
- Buy Steam wallet credit on sale to stretch your dollars further
- Stack with the Epic Mega Sale coupon if it‘s on sale there too
- Consider the Premium Online Edition for extra GTA Online content
- Use site like IsThereAnyDeal.com to track price history and lowest prices
With a little planning and strategically timing your purchase, you should be able to pick up the Premium Edition of Grand Theft Auto V for $10-15 USD fairly easily.
Is GTA V Worth Buying on Steam in 2023?
For those who don‘t already own Grand Theft Auto V, is it still worth buying in 2023? Especially with the next generation of consoles now available and with GTA VI in development.
Here‘s a look at why it remains a smart purchase:
- Incredible value proposition – Even at full price you‘re getting 100+ hours of gameplay which equals out to about 30 cents per hour. And during sales that drops to an insane 10 cents or less per hour for a triple A game!
- Very active community – Through 2023 there will continue to be millions actively playing GTA Online so you‘ll have lots of company in the lively PC community.
- Well-optimized for PC – Smoother framerates and graphics give a great experience on capable PCs. Mods can further upgrade visuals and gameplay.
- Ideal for first-time players – If you missed out when it originally released, now is a great chance to experience this landmark open world game for the first time.
- Prepares you for GTA VI – Playing GTA V will get you up to speed on the gameplay style and world before diving into the next big entry.
As long as you don‘t mind playing a game that originally came out in 2013, the value can‘t be beat when Grand Theft Auto V inevitably goes on sale again through Steam in 2023.
Will GTA V Go Free on Console?
For console gamers wondering if GTA V might ever go free on PlayStation or Xbox, unfortunately a permanent free deal is also unlikely in the near future.
However, there are a few possibilities where it could happen temporarily:
- Free 1-month trial with a new Game Pass subscription
- Free monthly PlayStation Plus or Games with Gold title
- Limited-time promotion when GTA VI releases
- Bundled as a free bonus with console purchase
But again, these are likely to be limited-time offers tied to driving subscriptions or new purchases. Both Sony and Microsoft make too much revenue from GTA Online microtransactions to permanently remove the cost barrier to entry.
At the end of the day, Grand Theft Auto V remains a paid game with little chance of becoming permanently free on Steam or consoles anytime soon. There may eventually be a short-term promotion surrounding the release of GTA VI. But free access is unlikely while it maintains strong paid sales momentum.
However, with frequent 50-67% Steam sales bringing it down to $10-15, you can frequently pick it up at almost free prices. And by stacking discounts and cashback rewards, scoring it for literally free is possible with some commitment.
For the millions yet to play this open-world masterpiece, keeping watch for deals can make Grand Theft Auto V accessible even on a tight budget.