The launch of Grand Theft Auto Online negates the need to release another Grand Theft Auto title so soon after Grand Theft Auto 5, since the multiplayer component's ever-evolving content keeps the game fresh, according to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.
Speaking with MCV, Zelnick said there are no plans to launch another title in Rockstar Games' popular franchise this year. GTA Online is still growing in terms of content and scope, which lessens the need for a whole new GTA title on the heels of GTA 5's September launch.
"A few years ago, we'd launch a title, it would be sold physically, then we would sell catalogue versions of it," Zelnick said. "Today we launch a title, and often, if not always, put out DLC. We've talked about recurrent consumer spending, where we have offerings where fans can engage and spend money on an on-going basis."
Historically, Rockstar Games has launched a GTA title almost every year, with a year or two of space in between clusters of releases. The first Grand Theft Auto launched in 1997, while Grand Theft Auto 2 launched in 1999. Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City launched back-to-back in 2001 and 2002. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released in 2004 and two more games immediately followed in 2005 and 2006, Rockstar Leeds' Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories. The last major numbered GTA game, Grand Theft Auto 4, was released in 2008, with two expansions and mobile title Chinatown Wars launching the following year. This represents the largest gap in GTA release, between 2009's GTA 4 expansions and Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013.
"With GTA 5, we have sold 32.5m units in to date, which is extraordinary," he added. "70 per cent of people that have played GTA 5 while online have played GTA Online, which is a free-to-play experience. And recurrent consumer spending, which includes GTA Online revenue, represented nearly half of our digitally delivered revenue in the quarter. So people are voting that they want to stay engaged and they are voting with their wallets."
Grand Theft Auto 5 has garnered numerous accolades since its launch last fall, including breaking the record for hitting $1 billion in sales in just three days. Including this sales record, GTA 5 broke six more Guinness World Records and has also been praised for the work put into its soundtrack. While rumors have been circulating since its release of a Windows PC version, Rockstar and Take-Two have repeatedly denied them.
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