For every Baby Boomer who told me growing up that “video games are a waste of time and money”…I have news!
Based on some trusted news sites, (and the radio on my way to work this morning), The video game Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5) is now the:
“Best-selling entertainment product in history, eclipsing any medium.”
– Market Watch April 9, 2018
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here is the games trailer from 2011 (2 years before it’s release):
Since it’s launch in 2013, GTA5 has sold 90 million copies and earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 Billion US. (Yes that’s Billion with a “B”). And just to be clear here, we’re talking about GTA5 by itself. (NOT GTA 1, 2, 3 , and 4. NOT the Franchise. JUST GTA5.)
To put that into perspective, here are the Top 10 Box Office grossing films of all time:
|3||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||$2,068,223,624||2015|
|7||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$1,405,403,694||2015|
|8||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows||$1,341,511,219||2011|
|9||Star Wars: The Last Jedi||$1,332,649,225||2017|
Even factoring in DVD Sales these films still fall $2 or $3 Billion shy of GTA5.
|MICHAEL JACKSON||THRILLER||EPIC RECORDS||33|
|EAGLES||EAGLES/THEIR GREATEST HITS 1971 – 1975||RHINO||29|
|BILLY JOEL||GREATEST HITS VOLUME I & VOLUME II||COLUMBIA||23|
|LED ZEPPELIN||LED ZEPPELIN IV||ATLANTIC||23|
|PINK FLOYD||THE WALL||COLUMBIA||23|
|AC/DC||BACK IN BLACK||EPIC||22|
|GARTH BROOKS||DOUBLE LIVE||CAPITOL NASHVILLE||21|
|FLEETWOOD MAC||RUMOURS||WARNER BROS.||20|
|SHANIA TWAIN||COME ON OVER||MERCURY NASHVILLE||20|
|THE BEATLES||THE BEATLES||APPLE||19|
|GUNS N’ ROSES||APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION||GEFFEN||18|
Even assuming a generous average sale price of $30.00 or $40.00 per unit, these albums barely break the $1 Billion range.
How did This Happen?
How did a modern day (violent video game) beat out the sales of the Star Wars and Marvel franchise juggernauts.
Short Answer: I have no idea and am not an expert…I just write about what I hear.
Assumption: GTA5 follows all the traditional earmarks of “viral videos”. How can you help ensure your videos go viral? 3 Main elements.
- Unexpectedness (Creative Content)
Although not as “revolutionary” or “groundbreaking” as previous iterations of the franchise, GTA5 tells a solid story with creative game-play elements.
Its true strength in creativity is it’s online mode. This allows players to interact with each other in some pretty…unexpected ways.
With video games full accepted/adopted into the main stream, its not surprising that a popular franchise game would garner interest from celebrities. Plenty of actors, musicians and even just professional gamers (yes that’s a real thing Boomers) have spent countless hours streaming their gameplay footage through sites like Twitch.
That coupled with the developers clever use of in game “Easter Eggs”, where real life celebrities appearing in game, GTA5 is in no short supply of taste-makers.
- Community Participation
This is where the game truly breaks from the pack. As I mentioned, the games online mode allows players to just exist in the GTA5 world. Sure there are objectives and things players are “supposed” to be doing…but most of the community just hangs out online and does weird and unexpected things.
The YouTube results alone for a “GTA5” search result in hundreds of videos ranging from “Funniest Moments Compilation” to “Prank Videos” before ever getting to the traditional “Guide” videos you would expect to see.
Why are any of these elements important or meaningful? One word…Longevity.
As I said at the beginning of this post, GTA5 was released in 2013. It’s now 2018, and the game is STILL selling. 5 years is a very long time in the gaming industry. Typically for games to stay relevant for even close to requires at the very least large expansions pack releases.
But none of that matters when you have the groundswell of a community participating and perpetuating your product.
For anybody interested in more stats and figures on GTA 5’s revenue, you can find them here.