Grand Theft Auto
A screenshot from the new gen version of GTA Online.Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games will no longer release updates for GTA Online on PS3 and Xbox 360. Hardware limitations have provoked the move, which comes ahead of the release of the Freemode Events update on 15 September on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

"We have continued to optimise the entire game over time in order to squeeze as much memory as we possibly could out of the last-generation hardware and at some point, continuing to add content for those systems could cause the risk of instability to the game overall," said the studio in a statement provided to Kotaku UK.

In 2014, in a Q&A session on its website, Rockstar had said it hoped to provide updates for all four consoles for as long as it could, saying: "Of course, at some point in the future, there may be a point where we reach the limits for the previous generation of consoles as there may be some updates that are only technically possible on the new hardware – but we do hope to continue delivering as many updates as we can for all four consoles for as long as possible."

Grand Theft Auto 5, of which GTA Online is part of, was released two years ago on Xbox 360 and PS3 - two ageing consoles at that point - making Rockstar's game a huge technical achievement on those platforms. It was inevitable that eventually they would have to be left behind, but they have certainly had a good run.

GTA Online's Freemode update introduces random events and challenges to the free-for-all "hub" world of Online's open world. Until now such events – deathmatches, races etc - took place separately to this part of the game. The update will be released on 15 September.

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