You know your game is successful when Forbes, the leading online financial publication, bases future predictions on the sales figures of your microtransactions alone. GTA Online has turned out to be such an absolutely massive business juggernaut that Take-Two might decide that always-online is the way to go. They might have passed the 60 million shipped copies mark (plus sales from digital distribution), but it is the Shark Card sales for GTA Online that are bringing in the serious cash.
By serious cash, we mean $500 million. That’s right, the entire budget of Destiny, the most expensive game ever made, can be covered by the profits from microtransactions. Shark Card sales have made back twice the budget of GTA V. Considering that Take-Two expects the popularity of Online to only increase with time – which seems to hold true – that rate of profit is only going to go up along with the player count. Even now, there are over 8 million unique log-ins per week.
We’ve compared the average player counts for other popular games in the past, but for a monetary comparison, consider that Halo 5, the biggest exclusive title on the Xbox One, has only made $1.5 million from microtransactions. This insane number drives the stake through anyone’s hopes for singleplayer DLC, according to Forbes.
Why bother scripting new story missions, recording new dialogue and selling $15-20 worth of DLC when you are bringing in millions just for sprinkling new items into GTA Online every so often, and players line up to shell out for in-game currency?
Now, we’ve known about this angle before, but the new idea suggested by Forbes it that the success of GTA Online doesn’t only make single player DLC impossible, but will delay GTA 6 for a very long time. With previous installments, after the big boom following release coupled with the smaller spikes whenever DLC was released, Rockstar didn’t have a constant revenue stream in-between GTA games.
However, with Online generating more than enough profit with minimal effort spent on the free updates, why bother spending stellar amounts of cash and time on developing the next installment? They know they need to outshine V with the next GTA game – a massive undertaking – so they’re biding their time and living off Online while they can. I guess this bodes well for the longevity of the “GTA 6 City of the Week” article series, right?
Do you think Rockstar will put off the next GTA game while Online is so profitable?