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Grand Theft Auto V sales skyrocket after Epic Games Store giveaway

Grand Theft Auto V is showing no signs of slowing down.

Take-Two Interactive Software, in its second quarter earnings statement Monday, said its mid-May promotion with the Epic Games Store, where the game was given away for free, actually resulted in a huge sales surge in the month-and-a-half that followed.

GTA V sold-through more units from April athroughJune (the company’s first fiscal quarter) than in any first quarter since the title’s launch in 2013.  And, in the six weeks following the promotion, the game sold more units than in the same period in any previous year.

That’s impressive for any game, much less for one that was released seven years ago. To date, GTA V has sold nearly 135 million copies, Take-Two said. And GTA Online has been a cash-printing machine for the company, with recurrent consumer spending on the game growing 155% last quarter, setting a new record.

Expect more growth to come, as GTA Online saw more new players join between April and June than it has since the game’s launch. And later this year, Rockstar will release what Take-Two official says- is GTA Online’s biggest update ever, featuring a new take on Heists in a new location.

GTA V and GTA Online are also expected to be major performers as the PlayStation 5 launches. A stand-alone version of GTA Online will be free to PS5 owners for the first three months of the system’s launch. Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick, speaking with Digital Trends on Monday, would not discuss pricing for that stand-alone version after that period, nor would he discuss whether a version was forthcoming for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

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Chris Morris
Chris Morris has covered consumer technology and the video game industry since 1996, offering analysis of news and trends and…
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Most notable among the current-gen console enhancements is a series of new graphics modes aimed at letting players tailor the experience to their own preferences. Fidelity Mode provides 4K resolution at 30 frames per second (fps) with ray tracing, while Performance Mode offers an upscaled 4K resolution with a targeted 60 fps. Lastly is Performance RT Mode, which acts as a combination of the other two modes, with upscaled 4K resolution, ray tracing, and a targeted 60 fps.

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Answering a question during an investor relations call, Zelnick said that players would have to pay for the newest version of GTAV, saying that "there will be plenty of reasons to purchase it." It's not clear if he means that new players will have enough reasons to buy the game or if existing players will need to shell out more cash to play it on current-gen consoles.

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Grand Theft Auto 6’s reveal is comically anticlimactic
Trevor, Michael, and Franklin are all holding guns in GTA 5 promotional art.

Grand Theft Auto 6 is one of the most heavily rumored games ever, and before February 4, 2022, it was never officially acknowledged by Rockstar Games. Our only indication of its existence was through an April 2020 Kotaku article and a series of rumors dating back several years.
That's why it's so comical that its announcement came in the way of a footnote in a Rockstar Newswire post about the GTA series. 
After years of expecting some sort of elaborate alternate reality game or event to reveal GTA 6, it was an extremely anticlimatic moment. While fans seemed to expect more from Rockstar's reveal of the next Grand Theft Auto, the actual confirmation demonstrates how Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, was always more concerned with the financial implications of its announcement, rather than the fan reception. 
Can I see it? No!
Grand Theft Auto fans have convinced themselves that a new entry in the series has been on the way for some time. As far back as February 2015, less than a year-and-a-half after GTA V's launch, speculation about a new entry in the series has existed online. From theory posts to bad 4Chan leaks trying to pass as real, we've seen plenty of speculation about GTA 6 and how Rockstar would go about revealing it.
Grand Theft Auto V was originally released for PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013, and is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X this year.
The rumor to gain the most traction was "Project Americas." This leak claimed that GTA 6 is set in both Vice City and a Rio de Janeiro-inspired location in the 1970s or 1980s. Lots of other potential leaks continued to build on top of what this rumor established, so Project Americas has been the lifeblood of the hype cycle behind GTA 6.
We still technically don't know whether or not this leak is true, but there's no doubt that it added a substantial amount of fuel to the GTA 6 anticipation fire. But in reality, the ongoing success of GTA Online and the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 meant that GTA 6 was years away from coming to fruition. Following the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA 6 once again started to feel like an inevitably. This all came to a head in an April 2020 Kotaku report that mentioned the game's existence.
While the focus of the article was on Rockstar's improved workplace culture, the thing most people took from it was the following line: "One plan that management has laid out for the next game, a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, is to start out with a moderately sized release (which, by Rockstar’s standards, would still be a large game) that is then expanded with regular updates over time, which may help mitigate stress and crunch."
Prior to February 2022, this was the closest thing to official confirmation we had for GTA 6. It then gave momentum to a bevy of new rumors, many of which were now centered around a potential reveal. Fans thought everything from the art for a new car in GTA Online to a new image on Rockstar's website was part of a massive teaser conspiracy ahead of GTA 6's reveal.
In the end, none of that came to be. Rockstar confirmed the new Grand Theft Auto in a tweet and a post about the series at large in a way that makes fan expectations seem laughable. But why did it end up this way? 
Why Rockstar finally revealed GTA 6
The timing of this confirmation is key to why Rockstar shared this news. Shortly after Rockstar Games' posts revealing GTA 6 went live, Take-Two confirmed that its next earnings calling would be on Monday, February 7. Now, in the middle of a merger and acquisition rush in the video game industry, Take-Two can go to its investors and highlight that a new Grand Theft Auto game is on the horizon. Its confirmation makes the future outlook for Take-Two appear brighter, even if the reveal wasn't very elaborate or spectacular. As Take-Two and Rockstar's biggest franchise, any new information on GTA is good news for current and potential Take-Two Interactive investors. 

This isn't even the first time Rockstar and Take-Two did this with the GTA series. The next-gen versions of GTA V got a November 11, 2021 release date prior to an earnings call. While it eventually got delayed, it certainly looked good for Take-Two to have a targeted release date to show investors. While GTA 6 might not launch for several years, confirming its existence is certainly appealing to investors who want a piece of the inevitable success the next Grand Theft Auto game will have.
It also helps from a hiring perspective. While the post doesn't directly specify that Rockstar is hiring, the knowledge that it is indeed working on GTA 6 will drive new people to apply. As Venture Beat points out, we've seen Respawn Entertainment, Blizzard, and Crytek also pull the same move this year alone, driving hiring with news of new games. Rockstar probably wants the best and brightest of the game's industry working on its games, and GTA 6 is certainly a game some developers might be willing to leave their current employer to work on. 
In the end, GTA 6's announcement was more about enticing potential hires and investors, rather than hyping fans up with an awesome trailer or some complicated ARG that reveals Rockstar teased it for years. Is it awesome that the game is finally confirmed? Of course! Its reveal is just comically underwhelming after almost a decade of fans eagerly awaiting it. Hopefully, GTA 6's first trailer can make up for some of the lost hype around this reveal.
Grand Theft Auto 6 does not currently have a release date.

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