When GTA 5 developer Rockstar Games announced its intent to ship a new version of its most popular gaming franchise, Grand Theft Auto, the company made it clear that it was angling to turn the franchise into one of its biggest releases of all time. Now, with the title starting to reach the hands of gamers everywhere, just how big the game is now comes into focus.
While talking to IGN, analyst Colin Sebastian of the Robert W. Baird group says his organization expects Grand Theft Auto 5 to “generate roughly $1 billion in retail sales during its first month on store shelves.” For a video game, that’s pretty high on the earnings scale.
The game’s immediate prospects aren’t the only thing that are impressing analysts. Arvind Bhatia and Brett Strauser of the Sterne Agee analyst group expect the game to sell as many as 20 million copies by March 2014. Both analysts also believe that there it’s a possibility that the game will surpass 6.5 million units sold on day one.
If these predictions are true, Grand Theft Auto has the potential to top two of the biggest entertainment launches in history: the James Cameron film Avatar and gaming counterpart Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Modern Warfare 3 managed to gross $1 billion in sales worldwide within its first 16 days of availability. That same record took Avatar around 19 days to reach.
Regardless of any fiscal records it sets, Grand Theft Auto 5 will likely have a huge chilling effect on gaming sales until the next version of Call of Duty arrives on store shelves this November. As Call of Duty will have versions that are compatible with current generation systems as well as on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next-generation gaming systems launching in the same month, it’s likely that the game could break the record set by its own predecessor.
So far, Rockstar Games has remained quiet about whether users can expect a version of that game to launch on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 when they become available. However, snippets from the game’s code to indicate that a version of the game will come to the two consoles at some point in the future.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is available on store shelves today, however users who haven’t pre-ordered the game already won’t be able to get their hands on the game’s special edition. It’s that version that includes a detailed map, a money bag and other character customizations out of the box.