One of the best-selling games of 2018 is over 5 years old: 'Grand Theft Auto 5'

Rockstar Games
  • One of the best-selling games of 2018 was “Grand Theft Auto 5” – a game that originally launched way back in 2013.
  • It came in at No. 11 on 2018’s best-selling games list, which is published annually by US-based marketing research firm The NPD Group.
  • “There’s nothing else like it,” NPD Group video games analyst Mat Piscatella told Business Insider. “There’s only been one month since its original launch [in 2013] that ‘GTA 5’ hasn’t appeared among the monthly top 20 sellers list (October 2014).”

Last month, like nearly every month before it, “Grand Theft Auto 5” was on the top 20 list of best-selling video games in the United States.

It appeared in seventeenth place for December, below “FIFA 19” and “Just Cause 4” – a duo of games that came out in 2018. “Grand Theft Auto 5” didn’t come out in 2018, though: It came out in September 2013.

“GTA 5” is over five years old at this point. For most games, that amount of time would make it a distant memory.

Instead, in a twist befitting a game centered on heists, “Grand Theft Auto 5” has sold over 100 million units. “Grand Theft Auto 5” has made somewhere in the neighbourhood of $US6 billion, according to one report.

It’s an incredible achievement, and that’s not lost on the CEO in charge of the publisher behind “Grand Theft Auto 5.”

“What can I say? We’re extraordinarily grateful to our colleagues at Rockstar Games for this incredible creative achievement, and to the entire team responsible for physical/digital distribution, and marketing of course,” Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick told Business Insider in a phone interview in August 2018.

Zelnick runs the publisher that owns Rockstar Games, the legendary game development studio behind blockbuster franchises like “GTA” and “Red Dead Redemption.”

“We would never have expected to sell something like 100 million units and still be in the market and still be active,” Zelnick said.

He’s right to be shocked: It’s more or less unprecedented, even for mega-hit franchises like “GTA.” Zelnick pointed out that the entire “GTA” franchise has sold “something like 285 million units” – “Grand Theft Auto 5” makes up over 100 million of that alone.

It’s bumping up against the likes of “Minecraft” and “Tetris” for title of all-time best-selling video game. That’s due to its extraordinarily long legs – the game keeps selling over time.

TetrisRichard DrewTetris is shown as played on the Nintendo Entertainment System in New York, June 1990

The NPD Group, which tracks video game sales in the United States, offered another incredible statistic: Since “GTA 5” went on sale in September 2013, it has appeared in the top 20 best-selling games every month but one.

“There’s only been one month since its original launch that ‘GTA 5’ hasn’t appeared among the monthly top 20 sellers list (October 2014),” NPD Group’s Mat Piscatella told Business Insider in an email. “There’s nothing else like it. Completely off every conceivable scale.”

There are a few reasons for that:

  • “GTA 5” is an excellent game with an incredibly recognisable name – if you’re buying a game console and are looking for a first game, it’s a strong choice.
  • It’s available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. If you bought a game console or a gaming PC in the last five years, chances are you also got “GTA 5.”
  • Rockstar Games has carefully updated the game over the past five years, first bringing it to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2014, then to PC in 2015. A “Premium Edition” launched earlier this year as well, which offers additional content.
  • It’s got a massive online component, known as “GTA Online,” that people love.
  • It’s an extremely shareable game – GIFs and videos of “GTA 5” are still regularly shared online.
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“GTA 5” has been quietly dominating for years at this point, and there are no signs that it will slow down any time soon. Check out the full list of the best-selling games of 2018 right here.

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