Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of publisher Rockstar Games, could generate $206 million in revenue in the next year from Grand Theft Auto V’s digital content. That’s a big boost in revenue for the year’s hottest video game, which sold a record $1 billion’s worth of games in its first three days.
This estimate includes about $41 million in microtransactions from GTA Online, the online world based on GTA V, according to market researcher SuperData Research. GTA Online is now available as a free download on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live (you need GTA V, of course, to play it). Roughly 20 million players have already bought Grand Theft Auto V. By comparison, Take-Two’s Borderlands 2 generated only $10 million in revenue over a year. Take-Two’s revenues will be an important barometer for the future of game revenues, SuperData said.
GTA V is an open world game where players can play as criminals in Los Santos, a satirical version of modern Los Angeles. The game was five years in the making at a reported cost of $260 million. It made those expenses back in revenue in just eight hours of sales. It’s extremely popular — especially among hardcore male gamers — because it is a high-quality title, holds nothing sacred, and takes satirical jabs at modern life.
In addition to that, GTA V is expected to reap $165 million downloadable content (DLC) revenue in the next year. Over five years, the game is expected to generate $93 million in microtransactions, such as when users pay real money to get better guns or cars in the game, and $344 million in DLC.
The DLC is expected to add more storylines and experiences through downloadable content. The microtransaction revenue isn’t that high because Rockstar isn’t forcing players to purchase virtual goods. Rather, players can earn items over time without buying anything — they only buy money if they wish to speed up that process.