GTA 5's remakes on PS4, Xbox One and PC could bring in a fair amount of revenue for Rockstar's parent company Take-Two Interactive. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia says that these new versions of the open-world crime game could sell a combined two million in its first month.
If GTA 5 sold two million copies on those three platforms, that would add roughly $100 million to Take-Two's coffers. Bhatia's calculates revenue of $48 from each copy, presumably because retailers take about $12 of every $60. I don't think he's accounting for the royalties paid to Microsoft and Sony for putting games on their consoles, but whatever. Point is, it's a lot of money. That total could steadily build over months or even years as more console gamers purchase PS4 or Xbox One.
Fellow research firm Cowen and Company said that total sales of 8 to 10 million for the PS4/XB1/PC versions of GTA 5 seemed possible right after their E3 announcement. However, they noted that pre-orders began slowing down in late June.
As I said at the time, it makes sense that GTA 5's new-gen sales would be more modest than the game's PS3 and Xbox 360 sales. The new versions of GTA 5 will compete with a slew of brand-new games this holiday season like Destiny and Assassin's Creed Unity. Plus, GTA 5 already sold 34 million copies on PS3 and 360. Many of those players have beaten the game and moved on.
While sales of GTA 5 could be a big lift to Take-Two, multiplayer component GTA Online is a cash cow of its own. GTA Online is included with GTA 5 for free but players can buy in-game cash for real-world money. Sterne Agee believes that GTA Online brings in between $30 million and $40 million each quarter. An influx of new GTAO players thanks to PS4/XB1/PC sales could widen that river of money.
GTA Online's revenue could also spike, Bhatia says, thanks to "the launch of major DLC." That "major" DLC might be the single-player content teased last December. Or maybe it's co-op heists. Heists will probably be free like the rest of GTA Online's updates but even so, they'd probably draw a lot of players back into the game and thereby boost microtransaction sales.
The long-term profits of GTA 5 and its multiplayer are why I think GTA 6 is a long way away. There's no need to rush a sequel because they're still making a lot of money. As Bhatia says in his latest report, Take-Two is now able to achieve "meaningful and sustainable profitability in the non-GTA years." The revenue from GTA Online and other franchises allow them to let Rockstar develop the next game in the series at their own pace. They could even take a break from the franchise and make a new Red Dead game.
The release date for the GTA 5 remakes hasn't been announced yet. Take-Two said during their 1Q earnings report yesterday that it's due in "Fall 2014." It technically could be here as early as September. However, Bhatia notes that Take-Two's estimate for their July - September earnings> would be higher if that were true true. Bhatia's more inclined to believe the "recent speculation" that GTA 5 will hit PS4, Xbox One and PC in November.