“Grand Theft Auto V” raked in more than a billion dollars in a record-shattering first three days on the streets for the unabashedly violent videogame, the publisher announced.
That marked a launch-day record for the Grand Theft Auto franchise which is Take Two’s most lucrative and allows players to cruise around a make-believe gameworld based on real-life locations such as Los Angeles. “Grand Theft Auto is a cultural phenomenon, and Rockstar Games continues to redefine what can be achieved in interactive entertainment,” said Take-Two chief executive Strauss Zelnick. Take-Two’s unit Rockstar Games spent five years crafting the title, with a rumored production budget of $270 million, and the time has paid off for gamers, according to a slew of reviews giving it top marks.
Take-Two shares were little changed at $17.48 in early afternoon-trading on the Nasdaq.
The fifth installment in the GTA series is set in a fictional city of Los Santos based on real-world Los Angeles and its nearby hills and beaches. It is billed by the New York City-based videogame publisher as the “largest and most ambitious” title in a franchise that has sold more than 114 million copies since its debut in 1997. Versions of GTA V for play on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 videogame consoles or personal computers powered by Windows software launched worldwide Tuesday. Sales of the game are expected to be boosted with upcoming launches of the title in Japan and Brazil.
The estimates by Take-Two blow away the prior sales record set last year by Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” — which topped a billion dollars in sales after 15 days on the market in 2012 and boasted an opening day more profitable than any Hollywood film debut at the time.
“Fans say GTA appeals with captivating story lines and an open-world format that lets players go wherever they wish in game worlds, noting that players can rob banks, take a yoga lesson or fly a plane, as well as play with or against one another online.
Rockstar said that GTA V “focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar” in a re-imagined Southern California.Grand Theft Auto IV blew away videogame and Hollywood records by raking in an unprecedented $500 million in the week after its release in 2008.
It took more than five years to be developed by Take-Two’s Rockstar Games studio at a cost of between $200 million and $250 million, according to some analysts’ estimates.
Last year, it took Activision Blizzard Inc’s first-person shooter title “Call Of Duty: Black Ops II” 15 days to hit $1 billion in global sales after its November release. That game took in sales of $500 million on its first day.
While GTA V is off to a flying start, industry analysts are keeping a close eye on Take-Two’s ability to sustain sales momentum.
iMac in GTA V Trailer #2.Associated Press