Grand Theft Auto V isn't just about high rolling through gunfights and car chases. It's about knowing your business savvy, whether you're investing and growing a business or taking part in the game's stock exchange.
While trading stocks doesn't sound like the kind of thing you bought Grand Theft Auto V for, it's definitely an involving experience, one where you can make a ton of money by putting your cash in the right companies. Like the real stock market, though, if you take a chance on a stock that ends up nose-diving, you could very well lose everything and have to start over from scratch. Thus, it helps to know what you're getting into.
There are two general stock markets that you can take part in. One is the LCN, or Liberty City National. This is the game's general trade market, featuring such businesses as AnimalArk, Bullhead, DollarPills and others. The thing with this market is that it can be ruthless, as there are rivals who constantly battle it out to be the top in the market. ECola, for instance, has more problem competing against Raine and trashing them in public every chance they get.
The thing is, with the LCN, you have the ability to manipulate stocks by completing in-game missions, thus making an extra dollar for yourself. For instance, if you invest in Fruit Computers (makers of the iFruit smartphone) and assassinate one of the top heads of its rivals, interest in that company is lost and, as a result, your stock increases.
BAWSAQ is much different, though. This isn't directly controlled by your actions, but rather by the actions of the community through the Rockstar Social Club. We already explained how the hierarchy of a Social Club works, but it's essentially down to how players react in-game to certain items, which in turn inflates or decreases the stock tied in to said item. So, yes, the people really do play a part in how these particular stocks play out.
Here's a full list of the companies that take part in the BAWSAQ market. As you can see, they're completely different from the ones listed in the LCN, as they cannot be as easily manipulated as those companies.
Seeing as how the market is community driven, it's really hard to make certain picks from the companies. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you get cash sooner rather than later.
First off, remember that this is still a Grand Theft Auto game. Violence brings in a lot of money, whether it's you initiating the gun battle, or your enemies opening fire on you. That said, the first place you'll want to stop to invest your funds is Ammu-Nation. People stop by all the time through Social Clubs to stock up on weapons and ammunition, and you can bet that number will pick up when Grand Theft Auto Online launches in the beginning of October, with players competing to be king of the streets.
Secondly, popular brands tend to hold up well, despite the chaos that may be happening around them. Sprunk, for example, is a very popular drink in the area, even if it doesn't have the same effect as alcohol. Their continued popularity will bring in some cash, though not as much as the more popular Ammu-Nation. They're worth trying out if you think you know your energy drinks.
Clothing stores do quite well around the city as well. Even though Binco doesn't fare as well as other shops in the area, it's popular due to their slashed prices. For that matter, Ponsonbys is also a quality stock, mainly because they sell the high-end suits that attract a similar class of criminal. Keep an eye on both of those, and don't be surprised if you see spikes over the next few weeks, as people play around with their appearances in their Social Clubs.
Betta Pharmaceuticals may seem like a safe bet, because, hey, it's Los Santos, and people like drugs. On the flip side, it also seems like an easy target for thefts. Try and watch its stock value before you put down money, seeing when it spikes and when it falls. When you feel the time is right, go ahead and invest.
If there's one business that will flourish well throughout the holiday season, it's likely to be Los Santos Customs. After all, there are millions of players out there tuning up their cars, as well as making their own through the separately released iFruit app for mobile devices. Definitely drop a few dollars into these guys.
As for the others, keep an eye on them, and don't forget to watch out for community feedback. After all, it's their actions that help drive the market, making it go up and down depending on what's happening in their world. Don't take a "invest it all in one stock" logic, try and spread it around and see where you end up. You could very well be a millionaire in no time flat – or, at the very least, scrapping up cash to start all over again.
Grand Theft Auto V is available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Be sure to check out our Free Guide for full coverage on the game!