May 13 2014, 4:56pm CDT | by Forbes
Never underestimate the international lust for anarchic sandbox violence — according to Take Two Interactive’s 2014 fiscal year report, the company has sold 33 million copies of Grand Theft Auto 5. Assuming people paid the full $60 (an incorrect assumption, as many people probably picked it up on sale, but a useful assumption nonetheless), that means that Take Two has sold $1.98 billion worth of Grand Theft Auto 5. The actual figure is probably just below that. When you factor in revenue from GTA Online, this becomes one immensely profitable game.
The company still posted $30.8 million in losses for the most recent quarter, however — hits are a volatile business.
In an age where everyone likes to talk about games as service, free-to-play and mobile, GTA 5 has been a kind of dinosaur since launch in the fall. A sort of vicious, unstoppable dinosaur, smashing human cities to rubble as a way of reminding us that it does, in fact, still exist. GTA 5 was a massive, expensive single-player only game (through most of the launch period) made over many years, and yet it hit $1 billion in sales in three days, setting records and launching the holiday season with unbeatable sales.
Rockstar has yet to release any add-on story content, but it stands to make some impressive revenue if it does — 33 million potential customers is one solid user base. The developer is ever one for making E3 announcements, so it’s hard to say how long it will be before we have much more information. When you sell 33 million units, the publisher tends to give you the space you need.
Seeing these sort of numbers makes me wonder about how long it’s going to take us to fully transition into the PS4/ Xbox One generation of gaming. After all, it’s probably going to be a little while until we even have 33 million current gen consoles on the market, let alone enough to allow any one game to post such staggering sales. This past generation arguably saw the birth of mega-blockbusters on consoles — games like Call of Duty and GTA 5 that continually set records for largest entertainment releases of all time, thanks in part to the ever-growing install base for the Xbox 360 and PS3. I expect that we’re going to keep seeing games on the older consoles for a while now.
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