Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) has been steadily one-upping itself ever since it was released, taking down sales milestones without breaking stride. It already achieved the status of best selling non-bundled game, and with this most recent record reaching the 100 million mark is inevitable.
About to sell 100 million copies
Grand Theft Auto V was first released in 2013, on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. Over 11 million copies were sold on launch day, and within three days that number rose to 29 million. The game’s release made it a record-breaker in many respects, such as having sold the most copies within 24 hours and reaching $1 billion in revenue the quickest.
After the release of the enhanced edition for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 a year later, sales propelled to 45 million copies. Another year later the game was released on PC, but this release didn’t account for a massive spike in sales because digital distribution is not considered for in these numbers, thus diluting the sales.
Ever since the game defied conventional market dynamics and, as opposed to all other AAA titles simply didn’t stop selling. Years after the most recent release, month-over-month, sales were trending upward consistently, people keep playing, and news of another 10 million copies having been shipped just kept popping up all the time.
In a recent quarterly earnings call, Take-Two Interactive revealed that GTA 5 sold 95 million copies as of March 2018, almost 5 years after initial release. This is a colossal achievement in many regards, as not only is the number on its own astounding, with just four games ever to have sold more copies – those would be Wii Sports, Minecraft, and Tetris – but it is also one of the non-MMO AAA titles with the most extended shelf-life.
Profitability for a reason
It isn’t only copies sold where GTA 5 shines. With optional in-game microtransactions adding to the game’s purchase price, the sheer amount of revenue that GTA 5 has generated is immense – so much so that it is the single most profitable media product ever to have been released. The fifth installment of the Grand Theft Auto series is earning more than any other game or movie (unless you consider World of Warcraft and its expansions as one game, in which case that is the most profitable title).
Grand Theft Auto V’s success comes down to popularity and some smart planning on Rockstar’s part. Staggering the release schedule and launching a new version or port of the game each year for three years kept the game fresh, in the press and talked about for an unusual amount of time. This extended “honeymoon” period is reflected in the sales.
This doubles down when looking at the extensive platform support. Five platforms across two generations made Grand Theft Auto V highly accessible. Pretty much anyone interested in gaming who is a potential customer for the game had at least one system in their household capable of running it. Having a decade’s worth of fame and brand recognition helped too.
GTA as an IP was popular before the release of part five, kicking up a significant amount of hype and publicity which propelled the latest installment in the series to true mainstreamhood. Once the community reached critical mass, it simply started growing by virtue of its size – since ‘everyone’ was playing GTA, ‘everyone else’ wanted to as well.
More coming soon?
Rockstar Games is quite the money-maker, with yet another highly anticipated title in a popular franchise coming this year. Red Dead Redemption 2, in spite of the developer’s secretive demeanor, is getting a lot of hype, however even so the game is not expected to eclipse GTA 5 regarding financial success.
Either way, you can bet that soon we’ll hear about the 100 millionth copy sold. If you haven’t tried it yet, it might be you, who will push them to this milestone. Good luck!
This guest article has been provided by Logan Smith.
YouTube: GTA Online: The Doomsday Heist Official Trailer