As Take Two reveals third-quarter earnings, GTA 5 figures unsurprisingly highly in its impressive financial performance
Take Two interactive has revealed just how successful Grand Theft Auto V was last year. In a conference call accompanying the publisher's third-quarter earnings, it was announced that the gangland adventure sold an incredible 32.5m copies between its launch in September and 31 December. Downloadable content for the game, which will take the form of extra story missions, was also confirmed on Monday evening, although CEO Strauss Zelnickwould not confirm when the first pack would be available.
It has been a good year for the veteran games firm. Take Two had several other successful titles on release in the run up to Christmas including basketball sim NBA 2K14 and wrestling title WWE 2k14. However, the latest GTA instalment is the key reason why the firm announced a net revenue increase to $1.86 bn, compared to $415.8m for fiscal third quarter 2013. Net income from continuing operations was reported at $578.4m, up from $70.9m in the previous year.
There was good news, too, for Grand Theft Auto's online multiplayer mode, GTA Online. Although the service suffered a number of technical hitches during its launch window, Take Two said during the investor call that 70 percent of GTA owners had tried the mode, and that microtransactions made within the online game accounted for nearly half of the company's $132.8 m digital revenues. However, according to Bloomberg, analyst Michael Olson commented that GTA Online was not, "monetizing at as high a rate as some expected." Indeed, investors on the company's conference call asked about plans for catching up on earnings lost during the online mode's tricky opening month.
The challenge for Take Two will be getting anywhere near that figure in 2014. The company has a new shooter, Evolve, out in autumn, which is already interesting the specialist games press, as well as annual updates to its NBA and WWE brands. What we don't know is if its subsidiary label, Rockstar Games, has anything planned. There are rumours of a sequel to western adventure, Red Dead Redemption and GTA studio Rockstar North has its overdue seventies conspiracy thriller, Agent, bubbling under. No mention of either was made during the investor call.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is now one of the best selling video games of all time, ranking alongside hugely successful titles like Mario Kart Wii and Super Mario Bros. A PC conversion of the game is expected early this year, and speculation persists that an enhanced version for PS4 and Xbox One could follow.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010