Now that Grand Theft Auto Online is mostly working as intended, Rockstar's started rolling out its "Stimulus Package" payments to players.
The $500,000 in virtual currency, now set to be delivered in one lump sum rather than the previously reported two payments of $250,000, will start showing up in players' online bank accounts from today. Rockstar says it will take two full days for all eligible players -- those who logged in and played Grand Theft Auto at least once during October -- to receive their payouts, with an implicit "please don't bomb our comments sections if you don't get yours at the same time as your friends."
The announcement of the Stimulus Package comes days after the release of patch 1.05 for the game, which was intended to finally stamp out the last few pesky bugs that were causing players to lose stored cars and their modifications. The payout is effectively Rockstar giving the "all-clear" for players to jump in and play with confidence, hopefully without having to worry about further progress-destroying bugs and connectivity issues.
The name "Stimulus Package" suggests something else, though; it's more than just an apology, it's an attempt to bring disgruntled players back after the multiplayer mode's botched launch, which drove some people away. Despite Grand Theft Auto Online launching well after Grand Theft Auto V and thus having a degree of "preparation time," many players felt somewhat aggrieved that Rockstar's servers weren't ready to cope with the influx of new players. Others who successfully managed to get in were dissatisfied with what the experience offers at present, particularly with regard to the relative lack of variety in things to do and Rockstar's nerfing of payouts for certain popular jobs.
A significant proportion of the gaming community seems to have moved on to other things at this point, too -- both Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are out now, and next-gen is just around the corner; taken in context of what else is going on in the industry, it's difficult not to see the payout as a "stimulus" for players to come back to Grand Theft Auto Online and help achieve the success it hasn't quite managed to reach to date.
Rockstar remains committed to its creation for now and promises that now the Stimulus Package is rolling out the previously announced free Beach Bum DLC will be along "soon," with other promised content such as the mission/race creator to follow.