GTA V has made over US$6 billion, more than any entertainment product ever
GTA V was released back in 2013, and has just about shattered all video game industry sale records. It would seem that the game is even more impressive than most think, with a study by MarketWatch ranking it as the most profitable entertainment product ever—and by a landslide.
The Grand Theft Auto series was founded in 1997 but has made its way to the top of the video gaming industry since then. The games have become the showpieces for new consoles, with a combination of incredibly vast open worlds, player flexibility, simple, intuitive gameplay, and entertaining plots making games in the series the port-of-call for gamers worldwide.
According to MarketWatch's data, the game was developed on a budget of US$265 million, and has made over US$6 billion in direct sales. What that means is that the game has likely made way over that, as revenue from online transactions isn't inclusive of that figure. For some perspective, Avatar, the highest-grossing movie of all time, has made just US$2.8 billion.
GTA V's sales numbers are definitely impressive. So impressive, in fact, that they look like something of an anomaly in the progression of sales figures in the franchise. GTA 3 sold 17.5 million copies, GTA Vice City did 20 million, and GTA San Andreas managed 27.5 million. The next game in the series, GTA IV, sold just 25 million—making it the first game to not surpass its predecessor, likely because of how poorly the game ran at launch.
GTA V has blown all the other games out of the water, though, as it has shipped a massive 90 million copies since its launch. In fact, the game has managed to rank among the top-selling game in each year since its launch, impressive considering the fact that it celebrated its 4-year anniversary in September last year.
The game will be Take-Two Interactive's cash cow for a while longer—at least, until we get close to the release of the PS5 (and GTA VI by association). And even then, it's unlikely that GTA VI comes anywhere close to hitting the heights of its predecessor.