Grand Theft Auto 5, first launched in September 2013, has gone on to defy every known distribution model in video games. At nearly 6 years old, it continues to headline monthly charts and sells millions of copies every quarter. This past quarter was no different, and even the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 wasn't enough to put a dent in GTA 5's numbers.
In its latest quarterly earnings report, Take-Two Interactive, parent company of developer Rockstar Games, has revealed that GTA 5 sold nearly 110 million copies worldwide, which doesn't account for digital sales. Since the quarter in question ended on the 31st of March and we're already halfway through May, chances are we can drop the "nearly" part by now and the 110 million milestone has been fully achieved.
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The game owes this Herculean feat to a decade's worth of brand recognition, a staggered release schedule spanning three years and five platforms and continued word-of-mouth reach due to the explosive popularity of GTA Online, the game's multiplayer component.
In fact, GTA Online has been driving the game's success, for the most part, these past five years. Time and again, earnings reports cited the multiplayer mode as a huge success, and the microtransactions that allow players to purchase in-game currency with real money have been one of Take-Two's financial pillars ever since Shark Cards became available.
Even now, new content updates like Arena War are outright mentioned as driving large numbers of players to return to GTA Online. Most online games begin to lose large amounts of their player base within five years of release, but GTA Online has actually managed to maintain a steady increase, a feat not even newer games-as-a-service title have succeeded in achieving.
As a result, we can expect Rockstar to continue content support for GTA Online for the foreseeable future. Not many six year old games get major DLC, especially for free, these days. Some fans were concerned that Red Dead Redemption 2 would mean the end of GTA Online DLC, and while an official statement countered this in the past, it's reassuring to see the game continue to perform so well, also ensuring its future.
Red Dead Online recently received a major content update marking the end of its beta period, which likely occupied most of Rockstar's resources these past few weeks, so hopefully, we'll begin to see more new content added to GTA Online now.