Attack of the Fanboy

Grand Theft Auto V Is The Most Profitable Entertainment Product Of All Time

Can Rockstar replicate this success with the upcoming release of Red Dead Redemption 2?

by Jelani James


It’s already a well known fact that Grand Theft Auto V has been selling like hotcakes since its debut in 2013, but a new report has just revealed an amazing piece of information about the record-breaking game: it is currently the most profitable entertainment product of all time.

This revelation comes via a new report from MarketWatch which reveals that GTA V has sold 90 million copies worldwide and brought in $6 billion in revenue, beating out any other media title that has ever been released (the report primarily makes comparisons with books, but the same comparison can more than likely be made with books, music and other entertainment products as well).

For example, the aforementioned $6 billion revenue means that Grand Theft Auto V beats out the $4 billion (adjusted for inflation)achieved by best selling films such as Star Wars and Gone With The Wind, while utterly eclipsing the $2.8 billion made by the current highest-grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar.

Needless to say, it stands unrivaled even when looking solely at video games.

Competitors such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops, which achieved 26.5 million and 24.2 million sales respectively, fall far short of the total sales made by Grand Theft Auto V and you would actually need to add the total sales achieved by GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas and GTA IV to match it.

That said, Grand Theft Auto V does have two important advantages to consider when discussing this achievement.

First off, there’s the presence of GTA Online whose frequent updates far outnumber those offered by earlier entries and even other AAA titles. It’s unknown how much or even if the online portion game factors into the the reported $6 million, but you can be sure that it made Rockstar a truckload of cash considering that the developer has already voiced its intent to continue releasing more content in 2018. At the very least, there are some who purchased the title for the multiplayer alone.

Second, GTA V exists as something of an anomaly among its competitors since it’s likely double dipping in regards to sales. As you might recall, the game originally debuted for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but was later re-released a year later for the PS4 and Xbox One (PC too). It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that a fair amount of the reported $6 billion/90 million came from repeat sales when consumers upgraded to the next console generation.

Regardless of how Grand Theft Auto V achieved this goal, however, there’s no denying that it’s incredible. Think of all the amazing games and movies that have been released over the years, and realize that GTA V is more profitable than any of them. As mentioned before, we already knew that the game was wildly successful, but no one foresaw it becoming the most profitable entertainment product of all time.

That said, it will be interesting to see whether GTA V was a flash in the pan or if Rockstar has discovered the formula for greatness that can be applied to future titles. Red Dead Redemption 2 is on the horizon and GTA VI is an inevitability after all. For now, analyst Cowen analyst Doug Creutz sees this game as an “outlier” unlikely to be replicated.

“That’s not to say Rockstar won’t have other big hits – it may – but another GTA V isn’t likely,” he said. “Michael Jackson had a lot of hit albums but he only had one Thriller.”

You May Like