Grand Theft Auto V has sold more than ninety million units since its September 2013 release on the PlayStation 3. Roughly fifteen million units have been sold in 2017 alone. Take-Two Interactive, the publisher behind the series, attributes much of the game’s success to its online element, which has grown every year since its release and reached record levels in fiscal 2017 – driven by Take-Two subsidiary Rockstar Games’ ongoing release of free content.
The longevity of Grand Theft Auto V is remarkable, but unsurprising as Rockstar Games has consistently released high-quality updates and content to its online platform. This keeps the game’s current community engaged, while allowing new gamers to take in everything that the city of Los Santos has to offer.
At a micro level, the fifth game in the popular Grand Theft Auto series continues to dominate overall video game sales in the United States. Market research company, NPD Group, released its final report for 2017's best-selling video games in the U.S., with Grand Theft Auto V landing in sixth place on the list, edging out fan-favorites, such as Star Wars: Battlefront II and Super Mario Odyssey.
While sales numbers certainly paint Grand Theft Auto V as a success, the game has not been a stranger to controversy and criticism. The initial launch of Grand Theft Auto Online was far from perfect due to technical issues. There was also widespread criticism when Take-Two Interactive issued a cease-and-desist letter to the creator of OpenIV, a modding tool that could be used to alter the single-player mode of the game. The community backlash of this move was apparent with Steam reviews immediately dropping to an “Overwhelmingly Negative” status for the game. Rockstar helped quell the situation and smoothed things out between Take-Two and OpenIV, noting that the studio embraces “reasonable fan creativity” and that OpenIV could continue; a move that was highly applauded by the gaming community.
It is obvious that Grand Theft Auto V has been able to overcome any negativity associated with it. Rockstar’s current focus remains on finalizing the highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2, the long-awaited sequel to the acclaimed Western-themed game released for the PlayStation 3 in 2010. However, the studio continues to pump out updates with loads of new content for Grand Theft Auto V with no clear end in sight.