Grand Theft Auto 5 Continues to Top Sales Charts, and That Should Concern Fans

Rockstar is a studio with a startling number of iconic games under its belt. Most gamers, however, know the studio best for birthing the Grand Theft Auto franchise. The GTA series tells gritty crime stories while giving players an urban environment to act out their most antisocial impulses. From stealing cars to going on shooting sprees to engaging in high-speed chases with cops trailing close by, GTA offers it all. In the latest entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto 5, players get to explore Los Santos, an urban sprawl that satirizes California and all its matarialistic quirks.

Since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013, the series has yet to receive a new title. This is notable because gamers have never had to wait too long for a new Grand Theft Auto game. Grand Theft Auto 3, for instance, was released in 2001 and was quickly followed up by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004. Despite its age, GTA 5 continues to bring in plenty of money for Rockstar. While this might spell good news for the company, it should be concerning for gamers, as it suggests that the wait for Grand Theft Auto 6 will be a long one.

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Grand Theft Auto 5 Continues To Do Impressive Numbers

The Grand Theft Auto franchise has become synonymous with the open-world genre, and gamers flock to the series to experience the best virtual freedom on offer. The series has also been a lightning rod for controversy due to its depiction of violence and its irreverant humor. Despite this, Grand Theft Auto has remained a fat cash cow for Rockstar, and it has sold over 350 million copies worldwide.

Even when going up against its juggernaut predecessors, GTA 5 still manages to stand out. To date, the game has sold over 150 million copies globally, making it one of the most successful video games of all time and the bestselling game of the last decade in the US. The game has broken records not just in gaming, but in the entertainment industry as a whole. As Take-Two has revealed, GTA 5 has reached $1 billion in sales faster than any other entertainment product in history. Unlike most games, GTA 5's sales numbers do not seem to be taking a nose dive as time progresses. In 2020, GTA 5 had its most successful year since launch.

The game can expect another spike in sales in 2022 thanks to the release of the expanded and enhanced edition of GTA 5, which will upgrade the game for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Although Rockstar has been vague concerning the details of the upgrade, the studio has stated that it will feature technical improvements, visual upgrades, and performance enhancements. The release of the upgraded versions of GTA 5 will mark the third gaming generation the game has been released in.

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It is worth also looking at Grand Theft Auto Online, which is the multiplayer component of GTA 5. In GTA Online, players share Los Santos with other players. There is lots to do and plenty of clothes to buy, but it all costs money. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make that money. For players who do not want to go through the time-consuming grind of accumulating wealth, they can purchase Shark Cards using real world currency. Many players have been doing exactly this, and Rockstar has been getting very wealthy in the process. In 2020 alone, GTA Online generated $911 million in revenue according to NetBet. GTA Online has come with its own set of problems, including cheaters, complaints of boring updates, and legal issues surrounding in-game gambling. Nevertheless, the money it generates makes it worth all the trouble.

GTA 6 May Take a While

GTA 5's success likely has plenty of people at Rockstar smiling. Players should be happy about it too, as it puts the company in a position to work on bigger and better projects. However, there is an unfortunate side effect. The continuing payroll that GTA 5 brings in may be the biggest obstacle GTA 6's release faces. Now that Rockstar has realized the collossal amount of money that can be made from online gaming, it may become the main focus of the studio.

As Imran Sarwar, who is Rockstar's director of design, has explained, GTA Online is the reason that GTA 5 did not receive DLC like GTA 4 did. A similar trend was seen with Red Dead Redemption 2, which has an online component but no singleplayer DLC despite the original Red Dead Redemption receiving a story expansion. Both games illustrate Rockstar's shifting focus towards online gaming. With how successful GTA Online still is, Rockstar may not be ready to start directing resources towards a singleplayer project just yet.

Releasing GTA 6 would likely mean releasing a game taking place on a new map. Hence, even if GTA 6 does have an online components, players will have to migrate from Los Santos to wherever GTA 6 takes place and build their empires from scratch. There is every chance that Rockstar might lose some of its player base in the process, or that some players may not like the new map and will choose to abandon the series. Consequently, from Rockstar's perspective, it is simply the more economically prudent choice to keep supporting the ecosystem it knows is making money rather than focusing on a new one that may or may not be successful. Unfortunately, players that are tired of Los Santos and are looking for something new are getting the short end of the stick.

GTA 5 is a masterpiece of a game that only comes around once in a generation (or three times, in this case). It set the bar high for Rockstar, leaving the studio with great expectations to meet with its next Grand Theft Auto game. Should the next game not sell as many copies as GTA 5 or generate as much money as GTA Online, it will feel like a failure. Hence, while GTA 5 is still incredibly lucrative, Rockstar is understadably milking it for all its worth.

GTA 5 is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 460, and Xbox One. An expanded and enhanced version of GTA 5 is scheduled to release in March 2022 on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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10 Ways GTA 6 Can Improve On Grand Theft Auto 5

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Smangaliso Simelane (84 Articles Published)

Smangaliso Simelane spends most of his time writing. When he isn't working on his imaginary worlds, he is writing about video games.

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