6 reasons why SAMP is better than GTA: Online

San Andreas: Multiplayer may be older than GTA: Online, but it does a lot of things better. Here are six of them.

SAMP vs GTA online feature image

GTA: Online is one of the most popular multiplayer modes in the world, drawing in millions of players with its ability to live a virtual (if not action-filled) life. Sometimes, however, it's easy to forget that the Grand Theft Auto series has a longer history with multiplayer.

While the online in GTA: IV and San Andreas' multiplayer were half-baked at launch, the modding community soon developed the latter into a fully-fledged RPG in its own right. In fact, though GTA: Online does many things right, there are still some aspects of SAMP that it's unable to capture. Here are some of the best reasons to play SAMP over GTA: Online.

Better performance

Some may see San Andreas' old-fashioned graphics as an eyesore, but for many, it's a selling point. As well as the nostalgic style, SAMP's minimum requirements are very low:

  • 1 GHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon Processor
  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 64 MB video card
  • 3.6 GB of harddrive space

If you aren't sure what all that means, suffice it to say this – any computer from the past 10 years should be able to run this game well. It also shouldn't take long to download, due to its small size, and can fit on anything but the smallest hard drives. The only requirement is that you have a Windows PC, or a Linux PC using Wine or Proton.

Fewer microtransactions

GTA: Online has become a gigantic cash cow for Rockstar. In 2020, GTA:V earned almost $1 billion in revenue as new players purchased the game and its microtransactions.

Those microtransactions, however, are too aggressive for many users' liking. It can be very slow to start building up your fortune without buying Shark Cards, which offer large amounts of money for a reasonable cost.

In contrast, San Andreas Multiplayer is more fair. Though many server hosts do ask for donations to cover costs, they typically don't give as much of an advantage. Though it varies by server, benefits are usually limited to in-game skins, minor income boosts, and other small benefits. The game isn't specifically designed to make as much money as possible and isn't typically "pay to win".

More players per server

Despite its expansive map, GTA: Online only hosts 30 players per server. This makes it feel less like a bustling metropolis and more like a countryside hike. In contrast, SAMP accepts up to 1000 players per server.

More players mean regular interactions and just the feeling of a more life-like and lived-in world.

Player-based economy

Another thing the increased player count enables is a more complex and vibrant player-driven economy. In GTA: Online, the only economy that exists is between you and Rockstar.  This is likely an intentional move to prevent the transfer of hacked or purchased and money and possibly drive people more towards microtransactions.

SAMP's economy is much more fleshed out. As well as earning cash for jobs like GTA: Online, you can trade items or cash to other players. This allows you to sell cars, houses, weapons, and more to others. You can even be elected to congress by other players, where you can make decisions that alter taxes, job payout rates, etc.

A better community

The setup of SAMP is inherently geared towards creating a more tight-knit and vibrant community than GTA: Online. GTA: Online randomly assigns player to an available server, ensuring they rarely see the same people twice and have less chance to form long-term bonds.

As SAMP's servers are hosted by the community, it doesn't have this problem. The same groups of players play together regularly, allowing sub-communities to form, gangs, and even roleplayed families. In fact, while roleplay has barely any place in GTA: Online, in SAMP it's commonplace.

Fewer hackers

If you've played GTA: Online for any period of time, you'll know that it has a serious hacker problem. Though Rockstar does have anti-cheat, and it catches many of them, plenty of others either go undetected or ruin others' experience before they're caught.

Though San Andreas: Multiplayer has hackers, server admins generally have a better handle on things. As well as good anti-cheat that's been honed over a number of years, there's the advantage of having moderators on the server who can step in as soon as undetected hacking occurs and ban the player. This is something that's just not possible on GTA: Online due to the large volume of players and lack of dedicated servers.

Which is best for you?

These are the main advantages to playing SAMP over GTA: Online, but ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer in an online multiplayer experience. If you like regular large content updates with a huge player base and good graphics, GTA: Online might be your best pick.

However, if you love player-based economies and roleplaying, more fair monetization models, and servers with large player counts, SAMP is the way to go.