Analyst Doug Creutz broke down the numbers, and with over 90 million units sold and years of microtransactions under its belt adding up to over $6 billion in revenue, Grand Theft Auto V is the most profitable piece of media in history. Creutz, who is a managing director and senior research analyst covering media and entertainment Cowen, told Marketwatch that the 2013 open-world game has made more money than Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, and other properties. Even when adjusting for inflation, and taking home-video into account (which adds up to an estimated $3 billion). That’s absolutely incredible.
Marketwatch and Creutz explained that the continued success of GTA V, largely bolstered by GTA: Online and its microtransactions, is an anomaly for the gaming industry. The rightly point out that Nintendo’s Mario series has sold more overall copies over the last three decades, but profitability-wise, nothing comes close to this. GTA V is a single release that’s only grown in popularity as it launched in 2013, then made the jump in generations from the PS3 and XBox 360 to the PS4, XBox One, and PC.
“I think it’s a wild outlier. That’s not to say Rockstar won’t have other big hits—it may—but another GTA 5 isn’t likely. Michael Jackson had a lot of hit albums but he only had one Thriller,” Creutz said.
The non-stop money-making machine that is GTA V has near-weekly updates full of new modes, vehicles, and in-game shopping opportunities to thank for its never-ending flow of cash.
With such a massive and unprecedented hit, Rockstar has committed to microtransactions in its future games, which means Red Dead Redemption 2 will no-doubt have them when it launches on October 26. Considering the hype and post-launch dedication to their games as services, the unprecedented success doesn’t seem like it will end anytime soon.
In fact, this could mean GTA VI could be another half-decade away.