Grand Theft Auto V broke the $1 billion mark in just a few days on shelves, and while the packaged game is likely to get another sales surge this holiday, one research firm is estimating that Take-Two and Rockstar can expect an additional $437 million in revenue from downloadable content and microtransactions alone over the game’s lifetime.
SuperData released its forecast on GTA V digital sales, though not including sales of digital copies of the full game, just as GTA: Online became available. The online version is free-to-play for those who bought GTA V but includes an in-game store to drive microtransactions. And although Rockstar hasn’t yet announced any other downloadable content, it’s only a matter of time before the game gets additional story content that people can purchase. SuperData forecasts that the game will draw the bulk of digital revenue from single player DLC, about 80 percent of it, with the remainder coming from microtransactions. It estimates that the game will make $344 million on DLC and $93 million on microtransactions over a five year lifespan. It applies nearly the same ratio to a first year estimate, predicting $165 million in DLC sales and $41 million in microtransactions over the next 12 months.
The firm also sees the performance of GTA V and GTA: Online digital sales as a barometer for other digital game companies making the move to console. Game makers such as Wargaming, Sony Online Entertainment and CCP are bringing their microtransaction model over to consoles.
SuperData wrote in its research brief: “GTA V’s introduction of this hybrid model will begin to make familiar many console gamers with spending on virtual currency,” adding, “At a time when next-gen console makers are promising to improve the atmosphere for microtransactions, the lessons learned [from GTA V] could not be more relevant.”
Another lesson in the making for those watching GTA: Online is don’t underestimate your popularity on day one. The internet has been abuzz with reports of server outage and inaccessibility since the game went online yesterday. There seems to be a pattern lately with online games miscalculating player demand at launch, with even stalwarts in the category like EA and SimCity and Blizzard and Diablo III experiencing issues. If you’re opening a Krispy Kreme and want to get people hooked from day one, don’t run out of doughnuts.