Gamers are waiting impatiently for news of an update to the popular Grand Theft Auto series, but after a recent earnings call from publisher Take-Two Interactive it seems they may need to wait a while longer as GTA 5 (online) continues to be a huge success, selling “more than 120 million units”.
The online multiplayer mode of GTA 5 delivered the “best holiday quarter ever for both audience size and net bookings” for Take-Two, thanks in part to some clever marketing and engagement pushes during the festive period. To celebrate Christmas, Rockstar Games decked out Los Santos in tinsel and fairy lights and offered players the chance to pick up freebies like a green reindeer lights bodysuit or a fireworks launcher for logging in on specific days – making sure players kept coming back day-after-day and spending money on the game.
GTA has always been a hugely popular title, but what has caused the significant uptick in financial results for Take-Two is down to how they have pivoted towards micro-transactions. The release of GTA Online and in particular the release of the Diamond Casino and Resort update in July, 2019 saw the profits from these transactions soar by 54 per cent, with the online casino particularly popular. Offering players the chance to play a casino online as well as raid that same casino as part of the storyline proved extraordinarily popular.
It seems a new GTA title may be a long way off, but that has not stopped persistent rumours that a release is just around the corner, and a supposed “leak” from Yan2295 and Razed shows that the developers could offer players a much larger map on the next version. Limiting GTA 5 to Los Santos has long been a complaint from players, and if the rumours are true GTA 6 could include Vegas (set in the 1970s), Chicago, Mexico City, and some kind of small town for added gritty realism for the in-game crime spree.
It appears GTA 6 has been in pre-development since 2013 and so the storytellers and developers at Rockstar have had a lot of time to think about where they see the game going, but when we will get to play this new world remains a mystery. Take-Two are obviously happy with how GTA 5 continues to swell their coffers, but they need to keep momentum if they want this to continue and releasing a new version of the game whilst they are riding high could be marketing genius. Then again, they could be waiting to release the game alongside the next generation of consoles like Sony’s Playstation 5 and the Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and use them for a big marketing push. We will have to wait and see.