Record-Breaking ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Reaches New Heights Despite Critics’ Attacks

Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive
Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive

Video game distributor Take-Two Interactive announced recently it has sold 52 million physical units of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V.

This has resulted in 54% and 83% increases in the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP net revenues, respectively, from their fiscal fourth quarter 2014 to their fourth quarter 2015.

The 52 million figure does not include the additional number of copies of the game sold through digital platforms like Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and PC digital distributor Steam.

Take-Two’s Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick reported that the company “seamlessly launched five triple-A titles for the holiday season… and achieved record digitally-delivered revenue, including [its] highest-ever revenues from recurrent consumer spending.” Zelnick also remarked that “fiscal 2016 is off to a great start, highlighted by the April launch of Grand Theft Auto V for the PC, which has exceeded our expectations.”

Released in September 2013, GTA V shattered six Guinness world records, shunting popular media products like Call of Duty and the film Avatar out of the limelight. Perhaps most significantly, the game achieved the largest revenue that any entertainment item has made in a single day and the quickest to gross $1 billion.

This mammoth success occurred despite claims of misogyny and ruthless depravity arising from mainstream media like The Telegraph, Polygon, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Articles from these outlets conflated real-life representation and treatment of women with elements of pure art and fiction. While their authors’ or sources’ views may have stemmed from this false equivalence, an earnest discomfort playing Rockstar’s game, or good intentions to change gamers’ interpretations, they ultimately amounted to calls for censorship. Only the silencing of an idea can ensure that everyone interprets it the same way.

But the numbers don’t lie; GTA V’s success showcases a triumph of consumer choice over that of a few media gatekeepers.

Follow Rob Shimshock on Twitter @Xylyntial.