O ver the past few months, the Internet has been abuzz with anticipation regarding Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. Last Wednesday marked the release of the long anticipated installment in the Grand Theft Auto series — a series steeped in controversy amongst families, politicians, and even the gaming community. Grand Theft Auto V is the last release in this current generation of video game consoles and Rockstar will not be sending this generation off quietly.
Quite the opposite. The game’s publisher, Take-Two Interactive, announced that the first day’s sales for the game tallied more than $800 million worldwide. This phenomenal figure puts GTA V well past the previous record set by “Call of Duty II” in 2012 of $500 million on release day. Not only does this figure shatter records set by all games, but it blows previous installments in the series clear out of the water. The game’s predecessor, Grand Theft Auto IV, sold 3.6 million copies on its release day in April of 2008 and totaled day one sales of around $310 million. To say the least, the popularity of the Grand Theft Auto series has seemed to grow during the past few years. The game has only been released thus far for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, a release date for the PC is still in the wings, despite numerous online protest groups demanding the PC version of the game as soon as possible. Adding in the potential sales from a release of a PC version of the game and Grand Theft Auto V sits in a class of its own in the gaming world.
This impressive sales report must also be looked at in comparison to how much the game actually cost to make and advertise. Not only is Grand Theft Auto V the fastest selling game of all time, it is, by many reports, the most expensive game ever developed. While the exact numbers are hard to pin down, estimates put the expenses of development and advertising for the project at around $260 million. This shocking cost pales in comparison to the fact that Rockstar, the games developer, is looking at nearly three times return on investment on day one. Once, or if, Rockstar does release the game for the PC, sales will likely push right past the billion marker, a goal that Rockstar was hoping to break within the first month. Even without a PC release, Grand Theft Auto V seems primed to blow right past those once lofty expectations. The high costs of the game have paid off in spades for the developer, landing them in the spotlight of the entire gaming community, something that rarely happens as a result of one release.
Take-Two Interactive’s CEO and Chairman Strauss Zelnick gave this statement regarding the game’s success, “All of us at Take-Two are thrilled with the initial response to Grand Theft Auto V. Once again, the team at Rockstar Games have outdone themselves, setting the entertainment industry’s new standard for creativity, innovation, and excellence.”
The team at Rockstar has definitely pushed the bar even higher for fellow game developers.
Critics and gamers alike are drooling over the release. Calls for “Game of the Decade” have come up more than once on various internet message boards and the like. Not everyone is enthralled with the game, however. As with any Grand Theft Auto release, there is a storm of controversy and outrage at different aspects and moments in the game. Grand Theft Auto V follows in its predecessors’ footsteps; use of racial slurs, violence towards women, sexual situations, it’s all there. Rockstar and Take-Two have yet to release official statements regarding the content in their newest release, but the developer has long backed the creative decisions of the teams behind the Grand Theft Auto series. The criticism and displeasure is expected, not everyone can fit into the target market for a product. As with any Grand Theft Auto release, look in the coming months for cries of outrage at one facet or another of the game.
Despite constant criticism, Rockstar has managed to once again blow away expectations with their newest installment into the Grand Theft Auto series. After a few years’ wait, the fans could not be held at bay. The fan-base turned out in droves to catapult Grand Theft Auto V well past sales records. One last hoorah for the Xbox 360’s and Playstation 3’s that have long accompanied your television sets, or maybe those of your children. Don’t take the game for its media attention, any gamer worth their salt is sure to have this release in their collection.