Grand Theft Auto Online once again smashes revenue records

Grand Theft Auto Online once again smashes revenue records

Breaking news: Grand Theft Auto V and its Online mode continue to be an absolute cash cow for publisher Take-Two.

Revealed as part of the company’s financial reports, the firm said that Grand Theft Auto Online is the biggest source of consumer spending on DLC and microtransactions (‘recurrent consumer spending’ in the disclosure).

Furthermore, Grand Theft Auto V has now shipped 85m copies, making it the highest-selling game ever. That’s not really relevant for PC, given how 90 per cent of GTA V sales on that platform were digital, but it’s a solid indication of how ridiculously huge the game is.

Net bookings grew 20 per cent to $577m, with 62 per cent of this being digitally-based. This rose 52 per cent to $356m.

In the subsequent earnings call - as transcribed by Seeking Alpha - CEO Strauss Zelnick was pushed on a variety of topics, including the pushback against microtransactions and monetisation in video games.

“We take consumer feedback very, very seriously indeed. And you're right. There's been some pushback about monetisation in the industry,” Zelnick admitted.

“The good news is the title was reviewed extraordinarily well. People love it. And the other news is, entertainment is a want-to-have business, not a must-have business and people vote ultimately with the usage and the usage on the title is up 30% in terms of average daily users. The title itself, say, unit sales were up 20% year-over-year. So, people clearly are voting that they love NBA 2K18 and the reviews reflect that as well. That said, we are concerned about any perception, any negative feedback. And we're focused on it and we're taking it really seriously.”

Take-Two also calls out the performance of NBA 2K Online in China, but pointed out some challenges in this region’s games market.

“Look, this is a massive market, as you know,” he said.

“It's also a market that is constrained in any number of ways. I'm hopeful that over time those constraints will lessen. Intellectual property is a particularly challenging area in China and we think there's great opportunity. We're thrilled to work with local partners. We're working with Tencent for a long time. They're a wonderful partner on NBA 2K Online and we've had phenomenal results. So, we're happy to work with local partners. I do think it is very important that we have reciprocity in markets and our markets are wide open. And I think it's important that foreign markets become open. And America's second-biggest export category after aerospace is entertainment. We're not alone in these interests. I will say that we are ready when China is ready and we think that providing the best quality entertainment on earth is always a benefit to a population, but of course we feel that way.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.