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GTA Online Drug Wars Update: Release Time News, Leaks & More

When is GTA Online's winter update coming out?
GTA Online Drug Wars Update: Release Time News, Leaks & More

The GTA Online Winter Update is the next major release planned for Rockstar Games’ incredibly popular sandbox title. To avoid confusion, we're not talking about the Christmas update, known as 'Festive Surprise'. Nope, we're referring to that next big expansion to the game, which last time around came in the form of 'The Criminal Enterprises.

These big expansions typically bring with them a wealth of new content, and given that the last update was more of a massive tidy-up of GTA Online's pre-existing content, we're expecting big things from the 2022 Winter Update to GTA Online.

Read on, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know ahead of this new update dropping later this year.

Update on 13 December 2022 - This article was updated and checked for the latest 'GTA Online Winter Update' news and leaks.
Los Santos Drug Wars Introduces a load of new cars and a new business enterprise

GTA Online Winter Update Latest News

December 13 - New Update Is Finally Live

The GTA Online Los Santos Drug Wars update is now live across PlayStation, Xbox and PC platforms.

Admittedly, this is a bit of a strange one. The new business doesn't appear to have unlocked (yet?), and there's also a lack of new weapons - something fans aren't all too happy about. 

On the upside, the ray-tracing looks incredible, new clothing like Crocs and onesies, plus there's now a feature that lets you start taxi work to earn additional income. Quite why a criminal kingpin would need to do this, we don't know.

Compared to some of the previous leaks which hinted at some big story DLC featuring Michael, this is all a little, underwhelming, so far.

More to follow.

December 13 - New GTA Online Los Santos Drug Wars Cars Leak

Several new cars from the GTA Online Los Santos Drug Wars have leaked prior to the launch later today. Take a look, just below:

  1. Tulip M-100
  2. Overflod Entity MT
  3. Zirconium Journey II
  4. Annis 300R
  5. BF Surfer Custom


GTA_Online_Annis_300R.png (1


GTA_Online_BF_Surfer_Custom.png (1



December 12 - GTA Online Los Santos Drug Wars Update COUNTDOWN

The GTA Online Winter Update known as 'Los Santos Drug Wars' is releasing tomorrow on December 13, 2022.

Updates will typically arrive in the early morning, and we normally see these large expansions arrive at around 10am GMT.

We would imagine it will release at the same time for this new Winter update, which means we can expect it to go live on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles at the following times:

  • UK – 9-10am GMT
  • Europe – 10-11am CET
  • West Coast US – 1-2am PT
  • East Coast US – 4-5am ET
December 5 - Expect an announcement this week

Rockstar Games has now revealed the brand new GTA Online Winter Update and it's called 'Los Santos Drug Wars'. As predicted the update launches on December 13, here's everything you need to know about the new DLC expansion:

Los Santos Drug Wars injects a new psychoactive strain of chaos into Grand Theft Auto Online on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.

Head straight to Blaine County and join up with old pal Nervous Ron and a new band of out-of-state misfits on a mission to put their stamp on the Los Santos psychedelics trade. Fight off an unlikely coalition of wealthy hippies and trigger-happy bikers while cooking up potent hallucinogenics — in elaborate labs or out of your own massive rolling chemistry set — in the opening chapter of an expansive new two-part story update for GTA Online.

Caution: Los Santos Drug Wars contains a range of wild side effects, including a new business enterprise to operate, new vehicles and missions, and experiential upgrades. And this is just the first dose — be prepared for lots more exciting events, including some jolly holiday hijinks, significant story and gameplay updates, and much more to come.


December 6 - New GTA Online updates announced!

Rockstar Games has announced a raft of updates for GTA Online which are set to arrive alongside the next GTA Online update for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.

Some of the updates include ray-traced reflections for PS5 and Xbox Series X, vehicle updates, payout increases to Smuggler’s Sell Missions, and more highly requested improvements to the GTA Online experience.

The full list of upgrades can be seen below:

General Improvements   

  • Get to your favorite iFruit Contacts faster — select which Contacts to display or hide via the Interaction Menu.
  • The Benefactor Terrorbyte can be used to launch Business Sell Missions in all Session types, including Invite-only Sessions.
  • Take on Agatha’s Casino Story Missions as a solo operator by visiting the Management Office of The Diamond Casino & Resort (these missions previously required at least 2 players).
  • PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will add ray-traced reflections — rendering real-time reflections on many surfaces — via the Fidelity Mode graphics setting.

Vehicle Updates

  •  New vehicle purchases will arrive in your Garage faster than before.
  • Select Custom Weaponized Vehicles can now be used in Races, where appropriate — weapons will be disabled outside of GTA Races.
  • Bicycles will be added to the list of vehicles that can be requested from your Personal Garage when calling the Mechanic.
  • Players on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S can enjoy full access to Hao’s Special Works without needing to complete Hao’s introductory race.
    Economy Updates
  • Completing Vehicle Cargo Sell Missions in Public Sessions will award a High Demand Bonus, bringing this in line with all other business activities, while payouts on Smuggler’s Sell Missions will be permanently tripled.
  • Get more of what you want faster with an across-the-board increase in the GTA$ value of all Shark Cards. Starting today, all Shark Card denominations have been boosted by 20–25% when purchased directly in GTA Online or via any of the platform stores. For special GTA+ Member Shark Cards, this is on top of the current 15% bonus GTA$.


December 5 - Expect an announcement this week

Last year the Winter Update was announced on 8 December and in previous years we've also seen it announced on 5 December and 10 December.

So we're expecting news to arrive this week from Rockstar Games. Well, we hope.

We doubt it will come from The Game Awards, but who knows...

December 3 - It looks like the iFruit App has vanished.

Hmm, we wonder if Rockstar is planning to release a new app alongside the GTA Online Winter Update?

December 2 - Tez2 appears to confirm the recent GTA Online Winter Update Leaks
November 30 - GTA Online Winter Update Leaks Have Arrived!

Oh boy, the leaks are coming!

28 November - Insider has doubts about Michael DLC

Rockstar Games fountain of knowledge TezFunz2 has weighed in on the next DLC - Via the GTA Online Forums - and he seems less sold on the idea the new DLC could be about Michael after all.

Have a read, just below:

"Best to lower expectations for a Michael DLC. Personally, this DLC would fit as a Trevor DLC, except Steven Ogg has shown that he isn't interested in returning to his in-game character anymore. So don't expect him to make an appearance as well.

My guess for what the DLC could be about is, recall how the Criminal Enterprises update was about the gas prices economic crisis? Well, this DLC could involve us establishing a business based on that. Or something to do with the oil business.

The details we have so far suggest the new character, Dax, is referred to as the Juggalo Boss, and we would work with him rather than fighting against Juggalos.

The "Dead Drop Package" blip appears to be a new collectible. Which could be something akin to finding a hidden item that tells you the location of the drop hence the name of the collectible. Kinda similar to Smuggler Trail event?"

18 November 2022 - Rockstar releases an update

As per Tez2 on Twitter, Rockstar is looking to extend the December 1st event week until Tuesday, December 13.

As we've noted before, this looks like the date we should see the next expansion release.

More to follow. 

14 November 2022 - New Details Revealed

Here's something rather cool that we missed before. According to a blog post directly from TezFunz2, Rockstar could be working on some sort of tool to let players create their own music.

"As per a reliable source, Rockstar will let players come up with their own mixes and beats in Grand Theft Auto Online," Tez wrote on whatifgaming.com.

"Similarly, an interesting development occurred with how Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s parent company, registered a domain by the name of 'rapponator.com' back in October 2020. A decade ago, in September 2009, Rockstar released a music mixer by the name of Beaterator in collaboration with Timbaland, allowing the player to produce their own loops."

10 November 2022 - New event week starts

There's a new GTA Online Weekly Update, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like there are any further clues, hints, or teasers for the next Winter Update.

Fingers crossed we see something next week.

3 November 2022 - New GTA+ Rewards 'Confirm' next DLC drop

The GTA+ Rewards for November have been announced, and more importantly, they end on 12 December 2022. It seems quite likely we'll see the next GTA Online Winter Expansion released on Tuesday, 13 December 2022.

31 October 2022 - Get ready, because here comes the next update!

It looks like we can maybe expect some news related to the next GTA Online DLC/Expansion this week when the next set of GTA+ Rewards is revealed. Stay tuned.


When Will The GTA Online Winter Update Release?

Although we know Rockstar Games are hard at work on GTA 6, we still think they're going to keep up the usual cadence of content moving forward.

This means we should expect - at the very least - two expansions per year. That's normally been the way since the start of 2019, when content delivery started to slow down.

If you're interested, you can take a look at when the game has released its expansions previously on the chart below. But we're fairly certain that we can expect to see another big update to the game arrive in 2022.

Based on Rockstar Game's normal habits, we think the GTA Online 2022 Winter Update will release somewhere between 13 to 15 December 2022.

Of course, this is only a prediction, so take it with a grain of salt until we get any official info.

GTA Online Update Announcement Date Release Date
The Criminal Enterprises DLC 21 July 2022 25 July 2022
The Contract DLC 8 December 2021 15 December 2021
Los Santos Tuners DLC 15 July 2021 20 July 2021
Cayo Perico Heist DLC 20 November 2020 15 December 2020

Los Santos Summer Special

24 July 2020 11 August 2020
Diamond Casino Heist DLC 5 December 2019 12 December 2019

Diamond Casino & Resort DLC

18 July 2019 23 July 2019
Arena War 10 December 2018 11 December 2018
After Hours 19 July 2018 24 July 2018
Southern San Andreas Super Sport Series DLC NA 20 March 2018

What New Content Is Coming With The GTA Online Winter Update?

Right now, it's impossible to say with any sort of certainty precisely what new content Rockstar will introduce with any forthcoming update. Still, it seems a sure bet we can expect to see new cars, guns, and collectibles. We imagine we'll also see new social space, especially if the rumors surrounding new 'movie set' references in the game's code earlier this year.

It's also worth noting that the 2022 Summer Update made massive changes to the game's underlying economy and focussed heavily on tweaking existing GTA Online content.

So it seems (at least from our perspective) that the natural next step will be for GTA Online's next DLC to include a good chunk of new content for players to get their teeth into, having got relatively little earlier this year.

GTA Online Winter Update Leaks

First, we should say that, as with all leaks, take everything with a pinch of salt until it's fully confirmed or denied. That being said, let's put on our speculation hats for a second.

Earlier this year a number of dataminers found a few new references to movie sets in the game's code (see below). As suggested by GTA Online expert TezFunz2, it could be the game is setting things up nicely for some sort of DLC surrounding Michael De Santa. 

Intriguingly during The Contract DLC, Franklin Clinton mentions that Michael De Santa is still alive and working as an associate producer for Solomon Richards at Richards Majestic Studios.

Another leak also appeared to show a new NPC character appearing in-game between the hours of 7am and 11am. The NPC in question was assigned to this new "movie_set" code.

Whatever way you cut it (no pun intended), there's some sort of Movie themed DLC brewing behind the scenes.


For more GTA Online news be sure to check out our dedicated section, or some of our Guides & Tutorials on the drop downs below:


GTA Online Daily, Weekly & Monthly Guides
Events, Future Updates & Unreleased Content
GTA Online Halloween Content
Important GTA Online Guides
GTA Online Heists Guides
GTA Online Gameplay & Collectibles Guides
GTA Online Best Businesses