In the course of lawsuit proceedings against Rockstar publisher Take-Two by former executive Leslie Benzies, it has been reported that Grand Theft Auto V has generated “at least” 500 million dollars in microtransactions alone.
Rockstar’s open world crime franchise has been a guaranteed blockbuster since the game made the transition to 3D with Grand Theft auto III. The latest entry has moved over 60 million copies, bringing in a heady $3 billion in profit just from base game sales.
This iteration of the franchise includes GTA Online, a multiplayer recreation of Rockstar’s California parody filled with an ever-widening set of guns, cars, and activities. Take-Two’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick, has called it “the gift that keeps on giving.” He’s not wrong.
To date, more than half a billion has been spent on “Shark Card” microtransactions, an exchange of money in your physical wallet for some in your virtual one. While the game’s activities revolve around earning the cash you’ll need for a penthouse, an exotic car, or a solid gold assault rifle, it seems that a pretty substantial number of the 8 million weekly players have opted to pay their way to criminal riches. For comparison, Halo 5 has managed to generate $1.5 million in roughly the same arena.
I’m not and will probably never be a fan of cajoling people to pay into a game which they’ve already purchased, but it’s an admittedly effective tactic for divorcing the impatient from their money. It is, however, not a particularly good way to encourage Rockstar to provide content for the game that doesn’t revolve around prompting players to buy in-game funds. Single-player DLC may be the most requested feature for GTA V, but it’s also almost certainly the least profitable option for the developer.
Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.