It seems like GTA Online has practically been feeding Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive on its own in the past few years. The multiplayer portion of the latest installment in Rockstar’s legendary and renowned Grand Theft Auto franchise has increased the mainstream popularity of the game hundredfold and opened up a whole new source for revenue via in-game microtransactions.
GTA Online has broken numerous records in the past. It is among the most players non-free-to-play multiplayer games with over 8 million unique log-ins every week. The game has passed the 65 million shipped copies mark a good long time ago, and that did not account for digital sales.
However, the most impressive record that it achieved was the revenue generated by its microtransactions. Shark Cards, as they are called, can be bought by GTA Online players for real money, which grants them in-game currency. There are various tiers of Shark Cards. Naturally, the more expensive the card, the more in-game cash it gets you, with the largest one being the Megalodon which provides 8 million for $100.
Now, in GTA Online the high-end things have always been priced at a premium, truly making them luxury items and indicators of wealth. Accumulating cash in the game through traditional methods takes quite a bit of time, though it’s not difficult by any means if you know the right techniques.
Nonetheless, with Rockstar constantly updating GTA Online with new content updates containing tons of interesting new items, vehicles and properties, all with a large price tag, players have been gobbling up Shark Cards with a fervor.
Not too long ago, it was revealed that Shark Cards alone have generated over $500 Million in profits, which is almost twice as much as the entire budget of GTA 5. Most AAA games do not reach such a high level of income with actual sales, let alone DLC.
Many thought that three years after launch, GTA Online would begin to lose steam. However, Rockstar and Take-Two have planned to keep Online going strong and profitable until at least 2020, and they want to ensure that happens by providing continued content support for the game.
In fact, 2016 has seen some of the biggest DLC released for GTA Online in the face of Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, Cunning Stunts, and most recently the highly anticipated Bikers update, which finally answered a long standing community wish.
The free-DLC initiative paid off, and in the past 12 months, GTA Online has generated the most revenue since it’s release, according to one financial analyst. It’s important to state that this isn’t official info, but rather the result of research conducted by one Daniel Ahmad, who works as an analyst at Niko Partners.
GTA Online has been hugely successful for Take Two & Rockstar
Net Revenues from GTA products exceeded $700 million over the past 12 months pic.twitter.com/mX3CRgZUd5
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) October 4, 2016
Based on his findings, GTA 5 game sales plus Online microtransactions have generated over $700 million since October 2015. Keep in mind that none of the three versions which were released separately (ptast-gen, enhanced edition, PC) were released within that time frame, so it’s not like a launch spike contributed to the profits.
Now, while these reports have not been confirmed officially, we’re betting that they might be accurate if not even underestimated. GTA 5’s initial success was unprecedented. The success of the ports was unprecedented. The success of the microtransactions was unprecedented. Who’s to say it’s continued success this far down the line cannot be unprecedented?
The recently released Bikers, while reported to be modestly priced in terms of content like new vehicles, clubhouses and businesses, is bound to also boost Shark Card purchases. It added a wealth of content to the game, undoubtedly attracted new players and showed that the developers will listen to their fans, winning them droves of goodwill. The successes of GTA Online may only rise in the months to come.
Are you surprised by the continued immense success of GTA Online?