2017 was GTA Online's biggest year yet, Take Two isn't interested in battle royale games

2017 was GTA Online's biggest year yet, Take Two isn't interested in battle royale games

Financials season continues with Grand Theft Auto giant Take-Two announcing to the world just now well it has done.

The publishing outfit reported GAAP net revenue of $480.8m, with digitally delivered revenue growing eight per cent to $258.4m - that's 54 per cent of total revenue, for those keeping score.

Unsurprisingly, Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V were among the biggest contributors to Take-Two's cash flow, alongside NBA 2K18, WWE 2K18, LA Noire, Dragon City and Monster Legends.

The firm revealed that 2017 was Grand Theft Auto Online's biggest year to date, with more players getting in on the action than ever before. Shipments of Grand Theft Auto, across all formats, hit more than 90m, too.

"I'm pleased to report that during the holiday quarter, Take-Two benefitted from high consumer demand for our offerings, enabling our company to deliver both strong net bookings and net cash provided by operating activities," CEO Strauss Zelnick told investors, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

"Our results were highlighted by record recurrent consumer spending on Grand Theft Auto Online and NBA 2K18, robust ongoing sales of Grand Theft Auto V and the successful launch of WWE 2K 18. As a result of our outstanding third quarter performance and increased fourth-quarter forecast, we've raised our fiscal 2018 outlook for net bookings.

"2017 was the best year yet for Grand Theft Auto Online capped off by an epic December that saw more players in the game than ever before. During the fiscal third quarter, Grand Theft Auto Online substantially exceeded our expectations and remain the single largest contributor to consumer spending.

"Rockstar Games has driven sustained engagement through the ongoing release of a rich array of premium content led by the massive doomsday hike which is the biggest update for Grand Theft Auto Online to date, as well as rest of surprised 2017, special Halloween content and additional themed content for smart.

"Also Rockstar games released the Criminal Enterprise Starter pack which gives players the access to a wide range of the most exciting and popular additions to Grand Theft Auto Online plus $1 million in GTA Virtual Currency. Rockstar games will continue to support Grand Theft Auto Online with more new content going forward.

"Although it was launched over four years ago during 2017, Grand Theft Auto Online V was the number three selling game in units and number six selling game in revenue based on combined U.S. digital and physical sales across the PC, console and portable according to the NPD Group."

Zelnick was asked by one investor for his thoughts on the burgeoning battle royale genre, to which the exec said that the company's studios were more about innovation than deriving from existing formulas. This is ignoring, of course, the leaked reports earlier this week that a battle royale mode was coming to Red Dead Redemption 2.

"I think more detail on game mechanics specifics really comes at the label level but I would just observe that someone else's success is really interesting and we’re obviously informed by what our competitors do. But our goal is to be as innovative as possible and title you don’t really titles that are derivative never seem to do as well as innovations that Ron expected," Zelnick said.

"So when we came out with the first Red Dead Redemption the conventional wisdom was that Western’s don’t work and have been awfully long time since our Western theme video game had come out and Rockstar took a massive creative risk and the result was extraordinary.

"So I don’t see our labels being super excited about being derivative. That said of course, we play in the world and we're informed by what's going on. And it is our job to bring consumers what they want.

"And because you are alluded to Asia, Asia remains an enormous area of focus. We've built a great business in Asia and we continue to be very interested in growing our business in and outside of China."

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.