It’s not common for companies to eventually close ongoing support for a product or service in order to shift focus on a better iteration. This is how companies can generate profits while deviating from wasting funds and resources on something that has reached the end of its lifecycle. If a product isn’t selling as much, or isn’t selling at all, it’s time to pull the plug. But what about if a product has maintained vastly impressive sales numbers 4-5 years after its release?
Take Grand Theft Auto V for example. This widely popular sandbox game, which reportedly had a development and marketing budget of $265 million, has far exceeded expectations of even Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive. The game generated $1 billion in sales in just a few days after its release back in September of 2013. Pretty impressive when the game’s online component, Grand Theft Auto Online, wasn’t even released yet. As of the end of May 2017, total sales have reached 80 million copies. It continues to be within the top 10 selling games week after week. However, it’s now the end of August, and so sales of the fifth installment have definitely exceeded the 80 million mark.
Add to the fact that Grand Theft Auto Online has helped the company rack in millions more from its micro-transactions, and it is no wonder Take-Two have decided to allow Rockstar to continue supporting the online portion of the game. According to GameSpot, Grand Theft Auto Online saw the highest recurrent consumer spending in its first fiscal quarter of 2018 (which ended June 30, 2017) in the game’s history. It contributed to the net sales of $418.2 million Take-Two generated for that quarter. There’s no figure on how much in total consumers have spent real world money on the online component of Grand Theft Auto V, but if it’s generating millions for the company, support will be ongoing.
So what does this mean for a potential sequel of the game? It’s hard to tell, as the only thing that was hinted by Rockstar was that developing a game starts with an idea. So if they’re in development of a Grand Theft Auto VI, they’d be drumming up ideas on what kind of story to tell, the type of characters to be included, and the ideal location of the game. There could be several hundred ideas on the board before the team makes a concrete choice before they work on the script. Add to the fact that they are also trying to meet a second quarter of 2018 release deadline of Red Dead Redemption 2, and the hopes of seeing a new Grand Theft Auto seems more far fetched.
Continued Grand Theft Auto Online Support
Rockstar has provided massive support for Grand Theft Auto Online since it went live a month after the game’s release. The single player component of the game already had a immense level of content that was worth the $60 price tag in itself. Rockstar has long been a innovator of compelling storylines in a sandbox world. Though given the success of the online components of Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption, they saw a lot of potential in the online space.
By adding continuous updates to Grand Theft Auto Online, they have added new weapons, missions, multiplayer modes, vehicles, luxury items, and new ways to generate virtual profits, thus giving gamers new and exciting ways to play. By also bringing the hammer down on cheaters, patching out bugs and glitches, and keeping the money making system stable, it’s no wonder why the online suite is nothing like it was at the beginning. If anything, it’s better than ever.
Controversy Sells When Used Right
What is one way that you can get your product in the front of the eyes of millions of potential customers? One way, only if used right, is through controversy. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto games have moments in them that are controversial. They’ve been on the receiving end of lawsuits for years as a result, including one were Lindsay Lohan sued them for having a female character in the game whose face allegedly resembled hers. Despite such setbacks, the controversial elements in their games have been the driving force of their huge profits. Much of what you can do in Grand Theft Auto V is controversial, from robbing banks, conducting prison breaks, trafficking cocaine, and exporting stolen luxury vehicles. A lot of people who play would never do those things in real life, but love to immerse themselves in this virtual world of crime to escape from reality.
Let’s face it, Grand Theft Auto V is selling incredibly well still, and the online portion continues to generate revenue due to its micro-transaction system. If recurrent-consumer spending on the game is higher than it’s ever been, then Take-Two has no reason to push Rockstar to create Grand Theft Auto VI. This is sad news for fans who want to dive into a fresh new sandbox world of the series. But at the end of the day, Rockstar is a business. A business diverts their energy and resources into what is working well for them, and ditches the things that aren’t meeting expectations. Perhaps on the day where the game starts showing its age, the player base starts dying down, and sales start to drop, we’ll finally see the sixth iteration of this widely popular franchise.