Sales of Grand Theft Auto V have topped $1 billion a mere three days after the game was released, easily setting a new record for the entertainment industry.
That's nearly two weeks faster than the previous record-holder, last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which took 15 days to hit the billion-dollar mark. It’s faster than any other entertainment property, period. It took “Avatar,” “The Avengers” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II” 17 days to reach $1 billion.
And it certainly obliterates any fears that the franchise has lost any of its drawing power in the five years since the release of GTA IV.
"Grand Theft Auto is a cultural phenomenon and Rockstar Games continues to redefine what can be achieved in interactive entertainment," said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of publisher Take-Two Interactive Software. "We are incredibly proud of the extraordinary critical and commercial response to Grand Theft Auto V."
GTA V was already a record-setter. In its first 24 hours, the game took in $800 million, which greatly surpassed any previous game. Last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sold over $500 million in that time period, while Modern Warfare 3 sold over $400 million on Day One.
While analysts were expecting strong sales of the game, the early reception has proved more enthusiastic than their top guesses, causing them to upgrade their estimates. Colin Sebastian of R.W. Baird & Co. now expects the company to sell 13-14 million copies before the end of September, while Wedbush's Michael Pachter is raising his prediction from 14 million to 16 million.
Will the game continue to show this sort of amazing retail strength? At this point, no one knows. The combined installed base of the Xbox 360 and PS3 create a potential audience larger than any prior GTA game has enjoyed, but with a console transition looming, it's unclear what sort of impact the arrival of the Xbox One and PS4 might have on the game (Rockstar hasn’t formally announced next-gen versions of GTA V).
"We are leaving longer-term estimates unchanged due to the console transition, as it is difficult to assess whether sales may slow once the next-generation consoles launch," says Pachter.
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