Take Two, a games publisher, shared some amazing statistics about Grand Theft Auto V in a conference call discussing its quarterly financial results. Strauss Zelnick, CEO of the company, stated that the open-world gangster game, which was originally released in 2013, has been downloaded more than 75m copies.
NPD Group sales data also shows that it was the sixth-best-selling game in all formats in 2016. Three years later, it was still in demand. GTA V, which was released last month, is currently ranked number 2 on the UK games charts. This is why?
There are obvious reasons. Grand Theft Auto 5 is the latest installment in one of the most acclaimed and successful video game franchises. It received a lot of praise for its open-world setting, engaging story, and anarchic humor. The game also garnered a lot of positive feedback for its many sub-quests and side-missions that added depth and longevity to the world. While there were many concerns about the game’s portrayal of violence and women, many gamers found the excitement of exploring this vast landscape of destruction and decadence to be more important than any negative undertones.
GTA Online was launched by Rockstar shortly after GTA V’s original release. This multiplayer mode allowed players to compete against each other for cash and kudos while they walked the streets of Los Santos. Rockstar was able to create a highly interconnected online shooter and MMORPG game after overcoming technical difficulties. There were missions, raids, customisation options, crews, and crews. Players could either drop in for a few moments of chaos or join more organized gangs to have whole weekends of team-based action.
Although the mode is completely free, Rockstar has been making money off its 10 million monthly active users by implementing microtransactions in-game. The game was also popularized on YouTube by skilled players performing elaborate stunts for ever greater online audiences. Rockstar supported and promoted this element through its active social media presence, sharing videos and working with key groups. Rockstar has provided regular updates to GTA Online Kiddion’s Modest menu, updating it with new quests, modes and vehicles.
This is just one part of the equation. GTA V, like Minecraft (another open-world video game that fosters and engenders large community), has also benefited greatly from the modern digital marketplace. This allows games to be downloaded across multiple platforms. GTA V is available on a console that you have purchased. Rockstar also made the transition easier by providing bonus content for those who transferred their PS3 or Xbox 360 saves to a new PS4/Xbox One copy of the game. Studio also updated all textures and added scenic elements to the game, as well as introducing a first-person shooter mode. This creates a completely new visual experience.
GTA V, just like Minecraft, Roblox, and Counter Strike, has evolved into a place for people to meet, not a game. We’re no longer restricted to buying sequels in order to play the same titles again. Instead, single iterations can now be endlessly remodeled and reequipped for subsequent generations. Los Santos behaves in this manner like a real city, with its real estate being torn down and remodeled every few years to make use of new architectural ideas and new building technologies.
All of this is combined with a growing videogame audience. People are now playing video games well into their fifties and forties. They have the cash to purchase new hardware but may not have time or the desire to explore new gaming experiences. Reliable staples are getting more updated. There’s always been nostalgia in gaming. We’re seeing more Xbox 360 and PS3 games on Sony’s and Microsoft’s machines right now, while Good Old Game has made a strong business of making classic titles available to new users. GTA V is not about that. It’s about millions who have had enough of the same experience and are happy to continue having it.
This situation is most similar to the constant repackaging of music and film industry. Many fans will repurchase a few albums or movies on every platform they can. It could be Jaws on video cassette or DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and UHD Bluray. Or Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours vinyl on cassette, CD, SACD, and then – in a nice circular consumer journey – 180g virgin vinyl. The point is, there are, in culture, certain titles that become important experiential/audiovisual benchmarks – they’re how people test and enjoy new hardware. Grand Theft Auto V was part of the first generation games that were able to be part of this regenerative cultural phenomenon, due to how games are distributed and continually updated.
Rockstar North’s creative minds will likely be shocked by this news. They may take pride in GTA’s subversive pretensions. But GTA V’s comfort, durability, and thrilling components are all reasons why it is still being played. GTA V is the father rock of video games.