GTA 5: Rockstar May Never Have A Bigger Hit, Analyst Says

"Michael Jackson had a lot of hit albums but he only had one 'Thriller.'"


With more than 90 million units shipped, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most successful video games in history from a commercial standpoint. The studio is owned by Take-Two, a publicly traded company whose investors are looking for bigger hits each time out. Can the inevitable Grand Theft Auto VI do even better than its predecessor? That remains to be seen, but one analyst thinks GTA V was the biggest hit Rockstar will ever see.

Rockstar's next big game is Red Dead Redemption 2, which comes out in October for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This game will surely be a big success, but Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz doesn't think it will sell as well as Grand Theft Auto V.

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"That's not to say Rockstar won't have other big hits--it may--but another GTA V isn't likely," he told MarketWatch. "Michael Jackson had a lot of hit albums but he only had one 'Thriller.'"

Overall, Creutz said he thinks GTA V is a "wild outlier" in the video game market when it comes to sales. In recent years, video game companies have declined to share specific unit sales data for their games, but it is safe to say that no other title has been as commercially successful as GTA V in many, many years. Creutz was commenting on a piece that claims GTA V has brought in $6 billion in revenue that makes it the most successful entertainment product of any kind in history, though there is no hard data to back this up.

Indeed, GTA V might be a unique case. It was originally released in 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, before later coming to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It was released at the tail-end of the Xbox 360/PS3 generation, which was good for the game in that it launched into a massive installed base of consoles which undoubtedly helped improve sales.

By comparison, Red Dead Redemption 2 will only be released on PS4 and Xbox One, so by virtue of that, it has a comparatively smaller market to sell to. That being said, the game is still likely to sell exceptionally well. In 2016, Cowen & Company said it was modeling 15 million in sales for the game.

Even if no future Rockstar game sells more than 90 million units, Red Dead Redemption 2 or GTA VI could still be exceptionally commercially successful through other means. Take-Two wants to have some form of microtransactions in all of its games, and given how wildly successful and lucrative they have been in GTA V, we can only imagine how this business model grows with Rockstar's future games.

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