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Following the delayed releases and events of its gaming industry peers, Rockstar Games has announced that it will shut down online services for two of its games — Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online — for two hours today in support of Black Lives Matter.
Other high-profile game publishers like Activision and EA Games recently pulled back on their efforts to make space for more meaningful conversations in the wake of nationwide protests following the police-involved Minnesota death of George Floyd, while electronics giant Sony postponed a look at the upcoming PlayStation 5, saying that the company does "not feel that right now is a time for celebration." Rockstar is now going beyond the news cycle to shut down its already-released content.
From 2-4 PM ET, the online versions of GTA and Red Dead will go dark "to honor the legacy of George Floyd," according to a tweet by the official Rockstar account:
The account described the blackout as a "memorial" and requested that gamers, after observing the offline block, contribute to various charities and social justice efforts:
Rockstar is widely known for its successful open-world games, with GTA Online being the online component of Grand Theft Auto V (the second-highest selling game of all time) and Red Dead Online filling the same role for the hit Western game Red Dead Redemption 2 (the 13th highest-selling game of all time).
These gaming communities are thriving and populous, so shutting them down — even for a few hours in the middle of a weekday afternoon — is sure to make a statement.