Grand Theft Auto V sales "extremely front-loaded" says analyst

Doug Creutz says gamer anticipation and next-gen consoles on the horizon means open-world game will have shorter sales tail, though GTA Online could generate "several hundred million dollars per year."

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Grand Theft Auto V sales are expected to be "extremely front-loaded," according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.

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In a note to investors today, Creutz said GTAV will have a shorter sales tail due to "high gamer anticipation" and the launch of next-generation consoles in November.

The analyst is now modeling sales of 25 million units for GTAV in the game's first year. Based on the $1 billion three-day figure Take-Two announced last week, Creutz said the open-world game is likely to have already sold at least 15 million units.

Take-Two has not disclosed specific unit sales figures for GTAV, saying only that the game has generated over $1 billion in global retail revenue to date. The game achieved this milestone faster than Call of Duty: Black Ops II (15 days) and The Avengers (19 days).

By comparison, Grand Theft Auto IV has shipped 25 million copies since the game launched in April 2008.

Creutz also said in his note to investors today that GTA Online--due to launch on October 1--should offer "ample opportunities" for content packs and microtransactions over the next several years.

"Call of Duty generates several hundred million dollars per year in digital revenue, and we think GTA could do the same," Creutz said. "Success here would take significant pressure off of next year's as-of-yet undetermined title slate."

GTA Online is rumored to feature microtransactions, though Rockstar Games has not commented on this yet.

According to Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, GTAV is likely to be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2014 to "extend the value of the franchise."

For more on GTAV, check out GameSpot's review.

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