The success of GTA V has been well-documented and chronicled. The stellarly designed open-world title managed to become a global hit that transcended boundaries, console generations and even time, considering this is a game that initially released five years ago. You’ve more than likely seen it still on the top selling charts on most months and it even somehow breaks into the top selling games of the year lists with alarming frequency. Added to that, the GTA Online‘s microtransactions continually rake in the money on a daily basis and the game has become Rockstar’s proverbial golden goose.
But just how monumentally profitable has the game been? Well, it’s now the most financially successful media property of all time. According to Cowen analyst Doug Creutz, while speaking to Marketwatch, the game has amassed profits in the region of $6 billion. The most profitable movies of all time don’t even come close to that number. No book, no album and no other game comes close either. Some games do have more units sold, but they’re not full priced AAA releases and some are simply bundled with consoles.
Creutz called the game a “wild outlier” and “that’s not to say Rockstar won’t have other big hits—it may—but another GTA 5 isn’t likely” suggesting that this game managed to be so popular and profitable that it’s an anomaly. which it certainly is. I personally think, and I haven’t seen this widely suggested, that the game’s towering success comes down to the platforms it chose to release on. It was initially only available on the Xbox 360 and PS3, as a sort of last hoorah of the platforms. When the next generation arrived shortly after, the game released there as well, bringing in repeat customers that wanted the shiny new experience and also pulling new customers that just joined the party. Then it released on PC as well and even if PC has the smallest amount of sales, PC gamers were elated after the game was delayed following the Xbox 360 and PS3 releases.
It managed to cover two generations and a perpetual one and be majorly successful on all of them. With its microtransactions, which are admittedly a bummer, it remained consistently profitable. It had the perfect winning formula that could only happen within the window that it chose to release. It made more money than Gone with the Wind and Star Wars. You have to at least be impressed with that.