Grand Theft Auto 5 microtransactions and DLC will make Rockstar even richer according to one market intelligence company

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Oct 02, 2013 12:03 AM EDT
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If Grand Theft Auto 5's record breaking sales numbers didn't show you just how big the game is, then surely the overcrowded servers on day one of the game's online arm did. Despite Rockstar purchasing additional servers to keep as many players online as possible, managing to snag a spot was still a crapshoot at best. But there's more interesting ramifications at play here than just a few disappointed players.

Combine GTA V's style kind of audience participation over two separate consoles (and next-gen ports with a possible PC release) where at least a few players will no doubt make use of the game's microtransactions, and that adds up to a tidy sum.

A sum which, when added to suspected DLC sales, figures comes in at "$206M in the first twelve months" according to Superdata.

According to the company's report: "Purchasable in-game currency will earn the publisher an estimated $41M in the next twelve months. Over the game's five-year lifetime, we estimate total digital content revenues to ring in at $93M for microtransactions, and $344M for DLC. Not a bad sum."

Add the two figures together, and Rockstar and Take-Two could generate approximately $437 million over the next five years, which is roughly half the figure that GTA V earned in sales in its first week of release, a number which saw much notoriety.

Comparatively, the number generated by microtransactions alone is pithy, but not without reason: "Take-Two is testing the microtransaction waters with a playerbase that may be largely unfamiliar with them. It's also introducing it in a game environment that, unlike an MMO, does not require in-game items to progress. GTA's microtransactions will merely let players acquire items faster, so the conversion rate will be lower than free-to-play games."

Despite gamers' overwhelming hatred of microtransactions, Rockstar and Take-Two should be applauded. As "pay-to-win" is quickly becoming increasingly more common, the two companies are retreating from this business model by ensuring that microtransactions are strictly there for players' options only. Compared to other games, mostly mobile, which rely on that model for the game's longevity and means to collect profits, Rockstar and Take Two stand to not make very little as a result.

"This isn't the game's next billion dollars, as some have supposed microtransactions will make Take-Two. It is, however, a successful foray into the microtransaction world for a console title," the firm said.

Rockstar finally going down this route is significant, and could serve as a benchmark for other developers and their games: "For publishers like Crytek, Namco Bandai and World of Tanks developer Wargaming, all of whom are creating microtransaction-based titles for console, the success Take-Two sees will be an important barometer for the future of the revenue model. And at a time when next-gen console makers are promising to improve the atmosphere for microtransactions, the lessons learned could not be more relevant."

Grand Theft Auto V is out now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. 

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