Although Grand Theft Auto Online was plagued with a series of not entirely unexpected issues on launch, the situation has been steadily improving since then.
The experience still isn't perfect, but at least it's possible to get into a session now, and most players are able to actually keep their progress rather than having to sit through that interminably long, unskippable intro every time they boot the game up.
Given that GTA Online is now at least in a somewhat functional state, Rockstar has decided to start looking forward to what's next for the ambitious multiplayer mode. Very little that is actually new has been announced, but a few more details have been given on upcoming content that has previously been teased.
First up, the $500,000 "stimulus package" will start being distributed next week, following a few final "tweaks and fixes" to ensure that all remaining game progress loss issues are resolved. The half-million of in-game virtual currency will be distributed as two payments of $250,000 each to all players who have logged in to GTA Online at least once in October 2013 -- so if you haven't tried it yet but want the free money, be sure to fire up the online mode before this coming Friday.
Secondly, the Beach Bum Pack, the first official add-on content update, will go live in "early November" for free. It will include, as the name suggests, beach-themed vehicles, plus weaponry that can be used in both GTA Online and the offline single-player story mode. The pack will also include new customization options for GTA Online characters including tattoos and hairstyles, and there will be a significant number of new Jobs for online players to take part in.
The third update is the Content Creator for GTA Online, which is currently pencilled in for the rather vague "this fall" release date, again for free. This addition to the game will allow players to create their own Deathmatch and Race Jobs for play in GTA Online, and other players will be able to rate and play these commmunity-created challenges. The most popular, high-quality Jobs will be marked as "Rockstar Verified" and be featured on Rockstar's Newswire blog as well as in special events.
And speaking of special events, Rockstar is launching regular "Social Club Event Weekends" in November to encourage more people to play together. These events will provide special, limited-edition rewards, discounts on in-game purchases and featured livestreaming on both Rockstar's homepage and Twitch account. Event weekends will also play host to prize pack giveaways of "hard to find GTAV gear and more" -- though whether these prizes are virtual or physical isn't clear yet.
Looking further forward, Rockstar says there'll be more information on these updates including specific timings next week. There'll also be information on the upcoming Online Heists update and the Capture the Flag mode, as well as initial details on new content for both single-player story mode and GTA Online.