The Grand Theft Auto series by Rockstar Games is one of the most popular of all-time, with millions of copies sold across over half a dozen titles, it may be unsurprising to find that its’ most recent title GTA V has been ranked the best selling entertainment product ever.
It was one of the most hotly anticipated games of recent memory when released in 2013, but the success it initially experienced was not to be a short-lived affair. Since then, it has been re-released on the newer generations of console – Xbox One and PlayStation 4 – and it’s still as popular as ever.
A report from MarketWatch provides deep glimpse into the success of the title, which it says has sold over 90 million copies, grossing a staggering $6 billion in revenue for the firm – This makes it the “most financially successful media title of all time.”
For context, this makes the title more successful than James Cameron’s best-selling title, Avatar, which grossed $2.8 billion in sales – That’s double what the best-selling film of all time made. The game is even more popular than the three most recent Star Wars films; The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story grossed nearly $4.5 billion combined.
That’s a whole lotta games – and also a whole lotta vehicle thefts, murderous rampages and trips to virtual strip clubs.
In regards to other game titles, the Call of Duty games are highly popular, also grossing massive sales across numerous titles. However, compared to GTA V they pale in comparison, with Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops achieving 26.5 million and 24.2 million sales respectively.
Grand Theft Auto 5 Online
It’s not completely clear if the $6 billion comes purely from retail sales, or if it is down to recurrent online revenue that publisher, Take-Two enjoys from the highly popular online multiplayer platform.
Grand Theft Auto Online still retains a large player base after all this time and with a continual stream of new online content, it holds its’ position as one of the most incredible online games available on the market. In March 2017, GTA Online had over 90,000 players from steam online at any one time, which is spectacular when one considers that’s on just one of a number of platforms available.
Online play comes with the option of micro-transactions – premium content purchases such as Shark Cards offering players millions in virtual dollars – which could be a significant revenue stream for Rockstar and Take-Two. For example, one Megalodon Shark Card – equivalent to $8 million in virtual cash – costs the player £60 on the Steam Store
Trouble on the Horizon?
The announcement comes as former Rockstar executive producer, Leslie Benzies, has hit a stumbling block in his $150 million lawsuit against publisher Take-Two.
In 2009, Benzies signed a profit-sharing agreement with company co-founders Sam and Dan Houser, after being made a Rockstar principal for recognition of his work. Seven years later however he filed a lawsuit against the firm, claiming that he was forced out of the company after a 17-month sabbatical.
Benzies claims that the firm’s co-founders were making more money from the contract – all at his expense. Additionally, the complaint argues that Rockstar broke a 2012 employment agreement. The case has hit a stumbling block after the New York Supreme Court ruled that the contract he signed is unambiguous and does not entitle him to the amount he claims.
Recent profit announcements could, however, entitle him to a significant compensatory payment.
Rockstar is set for another AAA title release soon, with the highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 due to be released in October of this year – Whether or not this will have the same success as GTA V, we can only wait and see.