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Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive's Grand Theft Auto V is the biggest and most profitable piece of media ever. The game has been an absolute steamroll of a success, and, so much so, that it has managed to surpass both video games and movies in terms of profit.
Marketwatch is reporting that, since releasing in 2013, the game has sold 90 million units as of 2017. The game has amassed $6 billion in revenue since its debut, making it bigger than Star Wars and Gone With the Wind, two of the biggest media properties in history.
Marketwatch even adjusts both films for inflation and notes that even when adjusted for inflation both properties fall short at just $3 billion each, which is absolutely nothing to scoff at. This is also accounting for DVD sales, which still would only add $1 billion extra to the films' totals.
For perspective, GTA V has not outsold the Super Mario Bros., franchise, but it has grossed more revenue than Nintendo's series starring the pudgy plumber and his thin-limbed brother. The article even goes so far as to compare GTA V with James Cameron's Avatar, where the latter managed $2.8 billion in gross where-as GTA V has managed $6 billion. Both products had similar budgets, but in the case of Rockstar's game, the $265 million budget also included the cost of marketing for the game as well, which was quite extensive.
The game has also completely eclipsed the other games in the franchise, with the nearest selling outing in the Grand Theft Auto series being Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which sold 27.5 million copies, while GTA IV sold 25 million copies. That means that GTA V nearly sold three times more than San Andreas.
Even nearest-selling properties from Call of Duty don't even come close, with Call of Duty: Black Ops selling 24.2 million and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 topping out at 26.5 million. However, to be fair, both those of games were relegated to the older seventh gen systems, where-as GTA V was a cross-gen release that managed to capture demographics from the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One and PC, which greatly increased its availability and sales trajectory.
What's more is that the report doesn't take into account subscription-based services and games, which have recurring spend requirements. Some commenters noted that GTA V has likely not brought in as much revenue as say, World of Warcraft. For a while that game was making more than $100 million... a month. That's also not including cash shop spending.
However, to be fair, GTA V also has the shark cards as a microtransaction model, which has also boosted the game's revenue to exorbitant heights. It will likely continue to make money up until and through the release of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, which is due out later this year for the Xbox One and PS4.
One thing is for sure, a lot of the media seem taken aback that a video game could overtake the gross revenue of the movie business. But, if Rockstar continues pumping out high-quality, addictive games like GTA V, it won't be the last time it happens, either.