Take-Two just had an earnings report out, and there is one particular section that appears to be quite attention-grabbing. Looking ahead to the future, Take-Two says that Fiscal 2025 is a “highly anticipated” year for the company. I think we know what that means, but see if you can figure it out:
“In Fiscal 2025, we expect to enter this new era by launching several groundbreaking titles that we believe will set new standards in our industry and enable us to achieve over $8 billion in Net Bookings and over $1 billion in Adjusted Unrestricted Operating Cash Flow. We expect to sustain this momentum by delivering even higher levels of operating results in Fiscal 2026 and beyond.”
$8 billion in Net Bookings? It’s Grand Theft Auto. It’s Grand Theft Auto 6.
Rockstar has said practically nothing about GTA 6, just tiny teasers, while huge-scale leaks have revealed a project that looks vast and detailed and scope, and also quite good, even for being absurdly early in production when the footage was recorded.
But what this new report means is that GTA 6 should in fact have a release year, which will fall in the Fiscal Year of 2025, the dates of that being between April 1, 2024 and March 31, 2025.
Within that time period, holiday 2024 seems like the most likely option, given that all major games at least aim for that window, which has generally made it the most crowded. However, with many major games suffering from delays, that pushes many to the following spring or summer, a period we are now living through with Redfall, Jedi Survivor, Tears of the Kingdom, Diablo 4 and Final Fantasy XVI all out within two or so months of each other.
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For context, GTA 5 did in fact release in the pre-holiday period in September of 2013. Holiday 2024 would mean it has been 11 years in between GTA releases, the long wait due to A) the massive Red Dead Redemption 2 release and B) GTA 5 becoming the best-selling game of all time by a huge margin, releasing on three console generations and generating billions through GTA Online. Mostly that.
It is likely that with the continued expansion of the video game industry over the past decade, GTA 6, barring any disasters, will probably be the fastest selling game in history, beating GTA 5’s $1 billion in three days, and depending on its long-term prospects, in theory could go on to outsell GTA 5 over the long, long term. But even within the GTA franchise, GTA 5 is a huge outlier. Still, given that GTA 6 is probably going to end up being one of the most anticipated games of all time, I would not bet against it.
Of course there is also the possibility of a delay. Most AAA game are delayed at least a few times these days, and whatever date you hear first, it might be 3-18 months before the game is actually released. But with 11 years since the last game, I think Rockstar may be in a better position than other studios to pick a date and stick with it, particularly when they’re making these enormous revenue forecasts for that specific time periods. A delay out of that would likely produce major downturns for their stock. However, a GTA 6 release that isn’t ready would be even worse, a-la-Cyberpunk (sorry Cyberpunk but you will never not be brought up in conversations like this).
GTA 6 will be massive, and now, it appears like it may be just over two years away. Stay tuned.
Update: I think we need a little more context on the scale of GTA 5, to understand just why Take-Two’s lofty promises here make more sense:
In 2013, with 24 hours, Grand Theft Auto 5 sold $815 million or about 11.21 million copies, double analyst predictions. For context, a decade later, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom just sold 10 million copies in its first three days, which is considering insane even in present day.
Just six weeks after release, GTA 5 had shipped 29 million copies, which already exceeded the lifetime sales of GTA 4.
In December of 2014, a little over a year since release, GTA 5 shipped 45 million copies, including 10 million copies of the new re-release for next-gen consoles.
By April 2018, it had made $6 billion and was estimated to be the most profit-generating entertainment product in history, in part as well from revenue generated from GTA Online microtransactions, in addition to the base sales of the game.
As it stands today, GTA 5 has sold 180 million copies. The only game that has sold more is Minecraft, but at a far cheaper price. GTA 5 sales put it above Wii Sports, PUBG, Mario Kart 8, the original Super Mario Bros, Red Dead Remption 2 and Pokemon Red/Blue by anywhere from 100 million to 130 million copies. No other full-priced premium game has anything close to its sales total.
So yeah uh, GTA 6 is going to be big. Take-Two is definitely not overstating the case for potential sales of the game and the revenue it will bring the company. If anything, they’re probably going to underpromise and overdeliver. The video game market has also expanded dramatically since 2013, so greater numbers of sales are theoretically possible, albeit it took ten years and three generations of consoles for GTA 5 to reach those highs. I also don’t think that the game will work on 120 million Nintendo Switches, cutting out that market. But I doubt it needs it.
Update 2 (5/12): While there are many reasons behind why Rockstar isn’t announcing GTA 6 officially yet, I believe the primary one, mentioned previously, is that Rockstar is afraid of killing off GTA 5 spending if they do so.
This has two fronts to it. A) the game itself still sells lots of actual copies, as if there’s a chance you’re buying a game console in the past two generations that are currently for sale, GTA 5 is probably a game you’ll buy with it. At least at a higher attach rate than other games. It’s why GTA 5 has been able to see these massive, long-term sales even 6, 7, 10 years after release. That may drop dramatically once GTA 6 is officially on the horizon.
The second aspect is GTA Online, where player spending has been in the billions over the years. It goes without saying that given the success of GTA 5’s online mode, that GTA 6 is absolutely going to have one as well. It’s unclear what may carry over from one mode to another, but it’s likely not going to be much, and there will be a fair bit of “starting over.” As soon as GTA 6 is shown off, the players that are currently content to spend money on microtransactions in GTA 5 may stop after realizing their world of choice is about to be made somewhat irrelevant by a decade-newer version.
No, I don’t think GTA Online will just...die when GTA 6 arrives, but it stands to reason a huge portion of the playerbase will shift over there. And Rockstar doesn’t want them to disengage until the last possible minute. And as I said, there’s not a ton of reason to “build hype” for a game that’s going to move 100 million copies long term with its eyes closed.
What might change with GTA 6’s online mode? I do wonder how much more it might lean into the live service model, even more so than we see now. I predict that Rockstar is likely to do the same thing as before, forgo actual DLC for GTA 6 in favor of building out GTA 6 Online with expansions, and GTA 5 Online got loads of those. But I find myself wondering if they might lean more into competitive multiplayer aspects, or if we’re going to see harder pushes into live game things like “seasons” and battle passes to go with those seasons. Even Diablo games have seasons and battle passes now. I can see them doing all that on top of continuing to sell their hefty microtransactions. Mark my words, I think this is where we’re going.
Yes, Grand Theft Auto 6 was officially announced by Rockstar Games in February 2022 and is in active development.How many more years until GTA 6 comes out? ›
The GTA 6 release date will be during the 2025 Fiscal year. We now know the rough timeframe thanks to a recent Take-Two Interactive investors call, where the company said that “active development for the next entry” is “well underway” and that it will enter its “next phase of growth in Fiscal 2025”.Why GTA 6 is taking so long? ›
According to the Take-Two Interactive CEO, Strauss Zelnick, Rockstar Games' relentless drive and determination to settle for nothing less than the best is the reason for GTA 6's extended development time.How long has GTA 6 been worked on? ›
It apparently did start work on GTA 6 in 2014, but meanwhile had the small matter of Red Dead Redemption 2 to make, let alone the PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions of GTA 5, and the PC and Google Stadia versions of Red Dead Redemption 2.