By the looks of things, there are no brakes on the GTA V sales train. Not so long ago we reported on the game breaking the 60 million mark for shipped physical copies, yet that has been once again been topped by another 5 million – some AAA games don’t sell that many at all in their entire lifespan.
Exactly one year ago, the sales figure for the game’s retail editions was 54 million. That figure hit the previously mentioned 60 million mark in February, meaning not only is the number of sales significantly higher than any other game currently commercially available, but so is the selling rate. Add to that the fact that these numbers do not include digital sales (which as of the previous fiscal year outnumber physical sales – let that sink in) and you’ve got the best selling game of all time on your hands.
This is made even more impressive when we take into account the fact that GTA V is a three year old game. Granted, the staggered release schedule for the various platform ports spread out the launch windows for different customer groups, but initial launch took place way back in 2013 on the PS3 and the Xbox 360.
The current-gen ports on the PS4 and the Xbox One released about a year later, with the definitive PC edition another year after that. The current-gen versions added first-person mode to the game alongside improved visuals, while the PC port also included the Rockstar Editor, which has since been retroactively made available on the PS4 and Xbox One.
The age of the first version of GTA V does show, however. Due to the hardware limitations of the PS3 and Xbox 360, every DLC update since Ill-Gotten Gains Part 2 skipped those platforms, only being available on the new consoles and PC. Rockstar has offered players upgrading from the previous generation various bonuses and rewards for staying loyal to the game, as well as the opportunity to transfer their GTA Online characters to the new platform, keeping their progression and items.
Rockstar plans on keeping GTA Online active and profitable up to 2020 at least, preferably beyond. These sales trends, seeing as quite a few players are buying the game just for the multiplayer, suggest that this plan is more than achievable.
In the early months of 2016, DLC releases for Online took a turn for the smaller and less significant. Some players assumed this meant that Rockstar has begun working on a new project, devoting more resources to it. While the recent Take-Two statement confirming Rockstar has actually begun the development of multiple new projects supports this, the fact that a set of major DLC to be released in the coming weeks and months show that the devs still plan on supporting Online with content.
Seeing how profitable Shark Cards turned out to be, this is a smart move. Regardless of how well the new project will perform once it launches, if Rockstar wants to top the magnificent reception of GTA V, they will need to funnel quite a bit of funds into the new project. Any investment it a risk, even if you have over $3 billion in profits to back it up.
Keeping up a steady stream of income in the form of GTA Online gives the developer a solid foundation as well as a life-vest of sorts should things fall through. The obvious benefits of this is that the team will be able to take some bigger risks, resulting in a more interesting and unique game experience, instead of getting a re-hash of things guaranteed to work.
How many copies of GTA V have you bought since release? Do you have one of each version?