GTA V – an unrivalled financial success and a media jobs generator

One of 2013’s most eagerly awaited gaming releases, Grand Theft Auto V, has proved to be the most successful launch in the industry’s history – but what does that mean when compared with other media earnings of recent times?

The game – developed by Rockstar Games – had reported sales topped $1bn (£626m) within three days of its release.

To put that success in some kind of context it’s useful to compare the figure with earnings in media verticals that sit away from the world of computer gaming.

Those first three days of GTA V sales represent:

– 2/3 of the total revenues of The Avengers, 2012’s largest grossing film ($1.5bn)
– 1/2 of DMGT’s 2012 revenues (£1.96bn)
– 1/5 of Yahoo’s 2012 revenues ($4.9bn)
– 1/6 of Pearson’s 2012 revenues ($6.1bn)
– Over ¼ of ITV’s 2012 revenue (£2.196bn)
– 1/10 of Sky’s total 2012 turnover (£6.8bn)
– 1/13 of Thomson Reuters’ 2012 revenues ($12.9bn)

With marketing and development costs estimated at $270m (roughly the production cost of Avatar or Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince), this represents a very healthy margin for Take-Two Interactive (the parent company of the game’s publisher Rockstar). Revenues will be further boosted by GTA’s first foray into micro-transactions within the title’s online platform.

Although official sales figures to date have not been released, it has been reported that 29m units had been shifted to retailers by the end of October (six weeks after its release); that figure exceeds entire lifetime sales of its prequel, GTA IV, and helps swell the ranks of developers, marketers, designers, communications experts, and all those others needed to ensure projects like this perform to their optimum level.

Whilst the consumer may or may not agree with the moral compass of the GTA series, from a business perspective, the franchise is truly bankable and a healthy media jobs creator.