Who Exactly Is It That Still Doesn’t Own GTA 5 At This Point?
Later this year, GTA 5 will celebrate its eighth anniversary. It will also be released on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Not only will that mean the Rockstar title has spanned three generations of consoles, but it still shows no signs of slowing down. It remains a bestseller around the world, hitting number one for February in the North American PS4 download chart, and recently surpassing 140 million copies sold. That makes it the second best-selling game of all time behind Minecraft. All of that begs the question, after eight years and all those copies, who exactly is still buying GTA 5 at this point?
Happy 18th Birthday! Welcome To Los Santos
The most obvious and perhaps most entertaining answer relates to the game’s rating. The encouragement to engage in illegal activity in GTA’s games has resulted in most titles in the series receiving an M for Mature. On the surface, that must be frustrating for Rockstar as it cuts off a large chunk of its potential market. However, with gaming more popular than ever, turning 18 and picking up one of the most popular games of all time may now have become a rite of passage. Coming-of-age teens no longer want to go to the pub for their first legal pint. They’d rather go to GameStop and pick up a copy of GTA 5.
There can’t be enough people turning 18 every week to have kept GTA 5 in the charts this long, though. Especially since buying a copy isn’t mandatory on your 18th birthday. After asking others at TheGamer, as well as a few friends, whether they own a copy of the game or not, it quickly became clear that Rockstar’s staggered push of GTA 5 onto more platforms has been a stroke of marketing genius. Not only did I find many people bought a copy on PS3/Xbox 360 and then another on PS4/Xbox One, but some people even bought the PC version too, despite having already bought the game twice in the past.
GTA 5 Part 4: Just Different Enough To Get You Again
That means even though 140 million copies of the game have been sold, it doesn’t necessarily mean 140 million people have played it. Many houses around the world will have two, maybe even three copies of GTA 5 lying around. That might even become four copies for some people when GTA 5 hits new-gen consoles later this year. Rockstar is attempting to soften the blow slightly, though. PS5 players will be able to download GTA Online separately and for free. However, unlike almost every over game to have received an upgrade so far, you’ll have to pay if you want to experience GTA 5’s story mode in a visually enhanced Los Santos.
Despite that controversial decision by Rockstar, it’s also a risky one. If there’s one underlying reason why GTA 5 continues to go from success to success, it’s GTA Online. Eight years on, the game’s massive online element continues to receive regular updates. At the tail end of 2020, the Cayo Perico Heist was added to the game. This was GTA Online’s biggest update yet, adding an entirely new island to the game. Between new heists, GTA RP, and people who just want to drive around Los Santos causing chaos, there’s almost an endless amount of stuff to keep you entertained. All of that will be free on PS5 to new players very soon.
So what about the people who haven’t been sucked in by everything GTA 5 has to offer after eight years? Well, I found some of those people too, and they had a number of explanations as to why they had decided to swerve one of the most popular games of all time. Perhaps most surprising of all was everyone I spoke to who doesn’t own the game has played, and become somewhat invested in, an earlier chapter in the GTA series.
Rockstar’ll Get You Eventually
And that’s where the problems for them arise when it comes to GTA 5. Most said that they didn’t see what more GTA 5 could have to offer in comparison to the franchise’s older titles. Once you’ve played one game in which you can steal a car, mow down innocent by-standers, and then shrug it off at a strip club, you’ve played them all. Even the appeal of being able to do that online in an environment that looks slightly more realistic than one they have played in before hasn’t managed to draw them in.
Well, not yet, at least. What GTA 5 continues to prove via its consistency is that it keeps winning people over. This hasn’t been a case of GTA enjoying boom periods and then disappearing. This has been almost eight years of consistent sales. This suggests that those people I spoke to who have yet to be won over eventually will be. Their group was once far bigger, but with each passing week, more of them join queues, virtual or otherwise, along with those eager 18-year-olds as they wait to hand over their hard-earned money for a copy of GTA 5. That queue will get even longer this year when GTA 5 comes to even more consoles. So much so that Minecraft might need to watch its back. Then again, Minecraft has enjoyed a similar consistency in sales to GTA and also shows no signs of slowing down, but it also doesn’t have that M rating holding it back.
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Josh has been gaming for as long as he can remember. That love began with a mild childhood addiction to the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive since he lives in the UK. Back then, Sonic 2 quickly became his favorite game and as you might have guessed from his picture, the franchise has remained close to his heart ever since. Nowadays, he splits his time between his PS4 and his Switch and spends far too much time playing Fortnite. If you’re a fan of gaming, wrestling, and soccer, give him a follow on Twitter @BristolBeadz.
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