Grand Theft Auto V's Online Revenue

Is Grand Theft Auto V’s Online Revenue Overblown?

New data indicates that Grand Theft Auto V’s online revenue still pales significantly compared to the revenue generated from standard game sales. According to sales numbers provided by Take Two through the end of March and estimates from SuperData Research, the game’s online component only brings in roughly 4% of the product’s revenue.

Much acclaim has been made over the success of the new online multiplayer mode of Grand Theft Auto V, and monetization experts expected it to provide a boost to Take Two’s bottom line given the popularity of the game’s dynamic online world and the similarity of Grand Theft Auto V’s independent virtual economy to successful free-to-play MMOs.  However, the online world’s monetization capabilities still pale significantly compared to Take Two’s ability to sell blockbuster AAA packaged games.

In a recent discussion with investors, Take Two announced 33 million sold copies of Grand Theft Auto 5, which netted $1.749 billion in revenue for the company, assuming an average sale price of $53 (purely an estimate on our part).

However, according to estimates by SuperData Research, worldwide microtransaction revenue within the game through March 31st, representing the first six months of revenue, only brought the company $73 million – a mere 4% of the total product’s revenue.

Grand Theft Auto V's Online Revenue, By Month
Grand Theft Auto V’s Online Revenue, By Month

At $73 million earned over six months, Grand Theft Auto V’s online revenue is nothing game publishers would shy away from, but it’s important to note that it’s still only a tiny slice of the dollars coming in for the Grand Theft Auto series.  Management will have to balance whether the developer resources to build the online world and to maintain it could be better applied to building the next full AAA game sooner.

Perhaps of more interest to investors is SuperData’s revelation that even twelve months after release, the game’s online world is still netting revenue for Take Two – with $8 million earned in microtransactions twelve months after the game’s release. Should this continue for several years, Take Two may have a continuous cash cow that can monetize users long after their initial purchase of the game.  With the higher margin in microtransaction products, this may still be the biggest success story for Grand Theft Auto V.

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Video game data and analysis from a consultant