GTAV to sell 'at least' 18 million units - Analyst

Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter estimates Rockstar's still-unannounced game has already cost publisher $80 million to develop, puts Max Payne 3 creation cost on par.

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Technically, Grand Theft Auto V isn't official yet. Neither Rockstar Games nor parent publisher Take-Two have announced any details concerning a follow-up to 2008's top-rated game. However, that's not stopping one analyst from going on record and prognosticating a rosy sales future for it.

Pachter believes GTAV will be a big, big game.
Pachter believes GTAV will be a big, big game.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter today issued an investor note that stated his belief that Grand Theft Auto V will sell "at least 18 million units." The industry diviner also said the game could sell as many as 24 million units if it maintains historical attach rates.

Though Grand Theft Auto V has not been formally announced yet, the evidence of its existence is mounting. Yesterday, Take-Two reported its latest quarterly earnings, with its April 2012-March 2013 fiscal year to produce $2 earnings per share. This guidance is well above that of the publisher's in-progress fiscal year, and it led one analyst to ask whether it can be assumed that a new Grand Theft Auto will arrive during the quarter. (Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick dodged the question.)

A Rockstar source told GameSpot in June that development on Grand Theft Auto V was "well under way," with a 2012 release date seeming "pretty likely." The source also said the game was having the final touches--like minigames--put on it.

Also in Pachter's note to investors was an estimated development cost for Grand Theft Auto V and Max Payne 3, which was not addressed in Take-Two's financial report yesterday. Pachter estimates that Grand Theft Auto V has already cost Take-Two $80 million to develop thus far.

As for Max Payne 3, Pachter said that by the time it comes out, it's possible Take-Two will have invested about $80 million in the project. If the game launches in the publisher's current fiscal year, the analyst expects it will be able to post a modest profit with about 3 million copies sold.

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