Grand Theft Auto V has now passed 90 million units sold. Publisher Take Two reported the gargantuan sales figure during its third quarter earnings call, their Q3 ended on the 31st of Dec 2017.
The all time best sellers list has been muddied in recent years with the advent of mobile games. Paid mobile downloads are included in a titles total sales even though they are just “lite” versions of the full experience. The mobile publishers weren’t content with creating the environment for underhanded microtransactions in Triple A games, they had to then confuse matters on the all time list too. Mobile games, is there anything they can’t ruin?
Grand Theft Auto V officially places third in the all time best selling games list with 90 million units sold. Minecraft comes in second with 144 million units. Top of the pops is of course Tetris at a whopping 170 million games sold. This is where it all gets a little messy.
Minecraft is also available on mobile at a budget €6.99 price. Minecraft “Pocket Edition” is reportedly the most popular version of the game. The Verge reported in 2016 that the Pocket Edition has a player base between 36% and 51% depending on region, Europe being the lowest and Asia being the highest. That is a huge slice of the pie.
Tetris is currently free to play on mobile so these new downloads would not count towards it’s “sold” total from now on. Tetris has over 100 million paid mobile sales which do count on the official list. It’s hugely impressive but should not count towards the actual unit sales. Even when it was a paid app during it’s 100 million mobile sales run it was a budget price offering. It has an asterix for a reason. Tetris actually sits at 70 million non-mobile sales placing it fourth in the all time list. 35 of it’s 70 million sales came from the bundled version with the Gameboy.
When you see the mathematical gymnastics required to put Minecraft and Tetris at the top of the tree it makes the achievement of Grand Theft Auto V all the more impressive. You can get Minecraft and Tetris at a budget price on anything with a screen. GTA V is a premium video game available only on premium hardware. It launched on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013 and still sells like hotcakes today.
Any game with the Rockstar logo and GTA name on the box stands to sell well. However, GTA IV sold 25 million units with the same logo and name, far from the historic 90 million figure of it’s latest entry to the series. Why? GTA Online.
While GTA IV had an online mode it cannot be compared to GTA Online. The online component for GTA V has been updated constantly over the years with add ons and entirely new modes all free as standard. This approach is refreshing to see. Nobody is locked out of modes or areas if they don’t pony up.
“We’re focused on players, not payers. Giving people great content for free is part of what is making GTA Online so successful. The monetisation will take care of itself.” – Strauss Zelnick, Take Two CEO
It’s a philosophy that has paid off. Revenue from “recurrent consumer spending” (Microtransactions) is up 64 percent year-on-year. It was 32 percent of Take-Two’s total net revenue.
Grand Theft Auto V has been a phenomenal success and regardless of what the asterix laden all time sales say it is the best selling video game of all time. Mobile sales are not the same. Even with the permanent markdown on GTA V issued in 2017 it is still 6 times more expensive than the mobile version of Minecraft that boosted its total numbers. Apples and Oranges.
With the microtransaction revenue mentioned above why would Take Two want to move on now? New free content is still being released and in December 2017 GTA V reported it’s highest ever player count….
“More people played GTA Online during the month than ever before in the game’s history” – Take Two
It is quite obviously in development but don’t expect to see GTA 6 any time soon. 2020, mark my words. Red Dead Redemption arrives later this year, Rockstar do not need to launch a big hitter for a couple of years yet.