The lights are on
Grand Theft Auto IV smashed gaming sales records when it launched in 2008. According to U.S. retail tracking firm NPD, GTA IV sold nearly 3 million copies in its debut month in just five days, making it the fastest-selling game in history during that period. All told, Take-Two says it has shipped over 22 million copies of GTA IV since launch and the entire franchise has moved 114 million units since its 1997 debut.
So what will happen with Grand Theft Auto V? Take-Two unveiled the trailer for its next installment this morning, showing the series returning to its familiar San Andreas setting. Game Informer spoke to several games industry analysts today to get their take on Rockstar's upcoming blockbuster.
Michael Pachter - Wedbush Securities
I think the story set up was very interesting. I had a vibe similar to the movie Heat. I thought the realism was good and is very clearly set in Los Angeles. I would say they’re within six months of release. If they’re ready in June 2012, they’ll do it.
If GTA V gets mid-90 reviews, it’ll likely do 20-25 million in the first year. You have an install base two times [what it was] when GTA IV came out, and GTA 4 did 12 million in the first six months.
Jesse Divnich - EEDAR
Currently, I project that if the game can maintain the exceptional level of quality of the past Grand Theft Autos and taking into consideration the increase in the install bases of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Grand Theft Auto V should sell well over 24 million units worldwide in its first year. Given the anticipation for the release, Grand Theft Auto V has the potential to shatter first day and first week sales records that are currently held by Call of Duty: Black Ops.
As an analyst it is my profession to analyze every imaginable data point to come to an objective conclusion on the potential success of video games. But when it comes to Rockstar, I found it is better to just sit back and enjoy the ride. This is Rockstar and this isn't their first rodeo.
Colin Sebastian - Baird Equity Research
We expect lifetime sales of GTA V to surpass $1.5 billion at retail, assuming a multi-platform launch. We also believe the game could end up becoming one of the top 5 entertainment brands of all time.
Mike Hickey - National Alliance Capital Markets
Grand Theft Auto is methodically cultivated mega game franchise that continues to be as amazingly vibrant and culturally relevant today as it was over a decade ago with the release of GTA III. Unlike many of the annualized game franchises dominating the market today, GTA V appears to be a significant step forward in graphics/animation over the prior iteration.
We expect GTA V from Rockstar Games will sell-in +16.25 million units, for an estimated $746 million in sales for the Company’s fiscal ’13 operating period. Specifically, we suspect GTA V will ship in May, 2012.
Billy Pidgeon - M2 Research
With larger active installed bases for both Xbox 360 and Sony PS3, I expect GTA V to at easily exceed GTA IV 22M units sales. Assuming Take-Two can ship sufficient quantities (and no reason to doubt they will) GTA V's first day/first week revenue is likely to top GTA IV's.
Whether sales will set a new record depends on what records are broken between now and GTA V's release, as there are a number of huge titles due out in the interim.