Grand Theft Auto V No Longer Wants to Be a Billionaire

Who wants to be a multibillionaire?

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Rockstar

That title, my friends, is because Grand Theft Auto V is no longer trying.

Here we go, your daily record-crushing GTA V-related news bite: Rockstar’s open-world opus has passed $1 billion in sales during its first three days on sale, says publisher Take-Two. That would also be a record: For those who care, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 took 15 days to make as much last November.

What’s more, says Take-Two, that figure and timeframe pretty much win the world: “We believe this marks the fastest that any entertainment property, including video games and feature films, has reached this significant milestone,” said the company in today’s press release.

Adjusted for inflation? I don’t have comparison figures, and it’d be more meaningful if Take-Two listed unit sales. That, and you have to take into consideration what games cost these days: If the outlay for a book or movie was $60-$70 a pop, we might be having a different conversation. Top book sellers like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, for instance, are well into the 100 million copies sold range (the only single video game that comes close is Wii Sports, and only because it’s a pack-in). If you view something like the Judeo-Christian Bible as a work of fiction, make that hundreds of millions of copies sold.

But then movies and books — unless they’re War and Peace, or you’re a theorist-slash-buff poring over every filmic frame or semiotic textual detail — don’t return dozens on up to hundreds of hours of up front value. We can debate GTA V‘s long-term value, of course, but in the end, we’re left staring at “$1 billion in three days,” or if we look back to Tuesday’s launch, $800 million in 24 hours (compared to Black Ops 2‘s $500 million).

How long until sales rise into the multibillions? Who knows, but GTA V‘s enjoying a kind of perfect storm, arriving at the close of a generation, the install base mature (roughly 160 million consoles in the wild capable of playing the game — to say nothing of potential PC and next-gen versions possibly in the offing), consumer interest in gaming rekindled with the next-gen platforms on the horizon and a slew of critical plaudits. Love it, hate it, care nothing about it, this is what an entertainment juggernaut looks like.

2 comments
jar8425
jar8425

So, basically, the thing has sold upwards of 17 million copies in 3 days. An equivalent would be basically $183 million for a film in 3 days (figuring $11/ticket average). Only The Avengers has ever done that (Iron Man 3 came close) at $207.5 million in three days.

Pretty amazing in any case.