Grand Theft Auto series shipments reach 125 million

Take-Two Interactive boss Strauss Zelnick reveals new life-to-date sell-in milestone for open-world action series; GTA IV responsible for 25 million.


The Grand Theft Auto franchise has now shipped 125 million units life-to-date. Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick revealed the milestone today during his presentation at the Credit Suisse 2012 Technology Conference. This figure is up 11 million units from the 114 million Take-Two announced in September 2011.

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Zelnick did not provide further details on how that figure breaks down between installments. A Take-Two representative confirmed the figure with GameSpot today, noting that 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV alone shipped 25 million units.

Zelnick also explained why he believes the Grand Theft Auto series is so popular, likening it to that of the long-running James Bond film franchise, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. He said much in the same way that a new Bond film is not typically released every two years, the same can be said for Grand Theft Auto games. This release schedule keeps the series "special," he said.

But what about the year-in year-out success of the Call of Duty brand? Zelnick praised Activision CEO Robert Kotick and the multiple development squads needed to release a "quality product" every year, but he said this business model has risks Take-Two is unwilling to take.

"IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall."

"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously views the world differently."

To prove his point, Zelnick said it is his understanding that Call of Duty: Black Ops II did not perform as well as last year's game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a sign that the series is beginning to slow.

"That's never been the case with one of ours," he said. "Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that's proven to be the case. IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall."

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