Grand Theft Auto V has quickly exploded into Minecraft territory as a game that has not only sold a ton of copies but one that is still growing in terms of sales and revenues. The now two-and-a-half-year-old game dominated Take-Two Interactive’s 2016 fiscal third quarter earnings call Wednesday thanks to the continued success of GTA Online.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick revealed sales of Grand Theft Auto V have reached over 60 million shipped during the call.
“Grand Theft Auto V has now sold in over 60 million units worldwide,” Zelnick announced during the financial call (via Seeking Alpha). “In addition, consumers remain highly engaged with the vast open world of Grand Theft Auto Online, which achieved its best week ever for both revenues and active players during this holiday season, more than two years after launch. In the third quarter, the game was not only the single largest contributor to recurrent consumer spending, it also generated its highest revenue ever.”
Take-Two cited holiday season updates including the Festive Surprise 2015 and Halloween Surprise along with the Lowriders and Executives and Other Criminals updates as key contributors to GTA V’s success in 2015. This contributed to digital revenue for the quarter bumping up 45 percent over the same period in the previous year to $213.6 million. Meanwhile, GTA V led physical sales of games which totaled $235.3 million in net revenue.
“Rockstar Games has continued to add new content in the current quarter, with an update on January 28 that featured the new ‘Drop Zone’ Adversary Mode, two new high-end vehicles, and additional improvements. As a result of its continued outperformance, we’re now forecasting that revenues from Grand Theft Auto Online will be up year-over-year in fiscal 2016,” Zelnick continued.
GTA Online players should expect more DLC releases just in time for Valentine’s Day. The game’s community, including Reddit user gurkdjur, have datamined the game to uncover 1920s-style vehicles and clothing for the event.
The publisher was not willing to provide data on how many players are engaged with GTA Online or the exact revenues derived from it. However, the CEO did state the game has the highest level of engagement in terms of active users. In fact, he later called it a “record level of consumer engagement” that is a sea change for the industry.
Once again, Take-Two Interactive was asked about future plans for single-player DLC with Grand Theft Auto Online, and the publisher declined to answer. This is understandable as financial calls are not the time to announce a major expansion to a game. Still, the single-player campaigns were a major contributor to the financial success of Grand Theft Auto IV, which means analysts would be remiss in their duties if they did not ask.
Rumors about a campaign expansion for GTA V still run rampant. Franklin voice and motion actor Shawn Fonteno recently shared an image of himself on Instagram sitting in Rockstar’s offices wearing a motion capture suit. Will the odd trio of characters return? Don’t expect the developer to share until the last possible second based on previous experience.
Meanwhile, GTA V is doing the work of carrying Take-Two Interactive for the 2016 fiscal year. The publisher’s line-up since the start of the year on April 1, 2015, has been rather thin. The year has only seen GTA V launched on PC along with regular sports entries for NBA 2K and WWE 2K. This week’s release of XCOM 2 is the first major non-sports release for the publisher in the fiscal year. All signs point to Firaxis Games sequel being a spectacular follow-up to the original, but a PC-only release will limit revenues.
Take-Two’s net revenue for third quarter 2016 is down to $414.2 million compared to $531.1 million in 2015. The sparse line-up is obviously the reason, but how much worse would it have been if GTA V was not still growing in terms of digital sales? It’s been so good the publisher has raised their financial forecast for the year. However, it will be critical that games like XCOM 2, Battleborn, and Mafia III perform well for fiscal 2017.
[Image via Rockstar Games]