Haranded’s Weblog

Last week, Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games confirmed what many had assumed to be a forgone conclusion: Grand Theft Auto IV sold well. Just how well? According to the publisher’s internal figures, GTAIV sold more than 6 million copies globally in its opening week (3.6 million of which were dispersed on day one), generating revenues in excess of $500 million.

As part of the announcement, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said in a statement, “Grand Theft Auto IV’s first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date.”

Today, that claim became as official as it’s likely to get. The Guinness World Records committee has announced that GTAIV has set new records for Highest Grossing Video Game in 24 Hours and the Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours.

Pegging GTAIV’s first-day figures at 3.6 million units and $310 million in cash, Guinness Records matched up Rockstar’s open-world crime spree to other major releases. According to the record-tracking group, Bungie and Microsoft’s Halo 3 previously held the fastest-selling video game record with $170 million in its first 24 hours. Spider-Man 3‘s box-office debut of $60 million last May held the theatrical movie title, whereas the final book in J.K. Rowling’s children’s fantasy epic, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, tallied $220 million in day-one sales.


In an “oops” moment, the New York Times let slip just how well Grand Theft Auto IV‘s first week of sales were. Though, some thought the numbers to be inflated, or not precise. Today Take-Two has confirmed the astounding numbers.

So just how well did GTA IV do in sales? Surely not better than Halo 3‘s first week, right? Wrong. Not only did Rockstar’s gritty crime epic surpass Master Chief’s previous record, it demolished it by around $200 million, gaining a total of $500 million for the initial week of sales. That is half a billion dollars, for one week. This equates to 6 million copies of the game being sold, with 3.6 million being sold on the first day alone.

This is no doubt a strong statement to the entertainment industry. What does it mean for the future of interactive entertainment? Will it have ramifications on the music, or movie industry that have never seen a release like this? What about the talks of EA’s hostile takeover of Take-Two?

We all knew Grand Theft Auto IV would kill in the markets, but garnering a $500 million profit in one week sets a whole new standard for the industry’s potential. We will have to wait and see the effect this monster release has on gaming as a whole.

et cetera