Grand Theft Auto 5 has officially become the most profitable entertainment product of all time.
Since its launch in 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 has sold 90 million units and has made publisher Take-Two Interactive Inc. and Rockstar an estimated $6 billion, which makes it more successful and profitable than Star Wars and Avatar when adjusted for inflation. The closest competitor is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which sold 26.5 million copies.
The most impressive part about the sale success of Grand Theft Auto 5 is how it has maintained popularity, even five years after its release. One of the biggest reasons behind its success can be due to Grand Theft Auto 5 being released in two different generations of console gaming. In an interview with MarketWatch, Doug Creutz, managing director and senior research analyst covering the media and entertainment sector at Cowen, stated that “there’s been some double dipping” on the behalf of Take-Two and Rockstar. This “double dipping” has provided Rockstar and Take-Two with revenue opportunities that are unavailable to their competitors.
This success could also be attributed to the longevity and popularity of Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer component of the main title. According to Rockstar, 2017 was the biggest year for Grand Theft Auto Online, which saw more players in the game than ever before. The online component also provides Rockstar and Take-Two with a constant flow of profit thanks to microtransactions. This provides Rockstar with the ability to reinvest resources into developing more content for the online component, which results in more players sticking with the game and spending more money. Though microtransactions are a controversial topic as of late, it is hard to deny how profitable its inclusion in Grand Theft Auto Online has been for Take-Two and Rockstar.
It is crazy to think that a video game could become the most successful entertainment product of all time, but Grand Theft Auto 5 shows how far the video game industry has come.