334,000 physical boxed copies of Grand Theft Auto V has been sold in the UK this year alone, making it the UK's best-selling video game so far in 2017.
That's over three and a half years since it was released on PS3 and 360 (September 2013), and more than two years since it arrived on PS4 and Xbox One (November 2014. It launched on PC in April 2015).
Rockstar's crime epic sits just above Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which is the UK's second best-selling boxed game of the year (so far) with 312,000 copies sold. Horizon: Zero Dawn is at No.3 with 286,538 copies sold, while Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is at No.4 (204,778 units) and Resident Evil 7 at No.5 (190,545).
The data comes from the Entertainment Retailer's Association (ERA), which is quoting GfK figures (the same data that make up the official UK charts). It doesn't include sales of digital downloads, so all of those games would actually have sold more units than quoted above (particularly on PC). Likewise, other popular games such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds are not counted.
It's a similar story in the US, where GTA V is currently the fourth best-selling game of the year behind Ghost Recon: Wildlands, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and For Honor. That chart, based on NPD data, does include digital downloads (although not for Zelda).
"In every prior generation, there have been other titles that have clustered around GTA from a quality point-of-view. That's clearly not the case now"
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two
The success of GTA V is a remarkable achievement, as is its spin-off multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online, which enjoyed record revenue during Take-Two's last financial year.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GamesIndustry.bizduring E3: "The reason, in my opinion, why GTA V has sold 80m units, and GTA Online had another record year 3-and-a-half years since its release, is because it stands alone in the generation. In every prior generation, there have been other titles that have clustered around GTA from a quality point-of-view. That's clearly not the case now. If you are over 17 and you have a new generation console, you have GTA. Otherwise we wouldn't have shipped 80m units."
As a result expectations are incredibly high for Rockstar's next game, Red Dead Redemption 2. However, Zelnick says it is unwise to compare the open world Western with the GTA series just yet. "Can any other title achieve [what GTA V achieved]? It seems unlikely. Do we have incredibly high hopes for Red Dead? We do. But we are not putting it in the context of GTA."
The original 2010 Red Dead Redemption shipped 15m units into the market, and expectations are that this game will do significantly more. It's due in Spring next year.
ERA's UK market reports features a chart of the best-selling entertainment products this year (so far), and in that chart GTA V only reaches No.13. This highlights just how much emphasis the boxed games market puts on Q4, compared with music and video. The best-selling entertainment product of the year in the UK (so far) is Ed Sheeran's new album Divide (over 2m units sold), followed by the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story DVD (at 1.18m) and then Fantastic Beats and Where To Find Them (with 1.032m units sold).
"Video games generated £1.44bn in the UK during the first six months of the year, an increase of 8.4% year-on-year"
Those music and DVD sales include digital data, so it's not a fair comparison with the video games market. Of course, that's the fault of the video games industry, which remains reluctant to share regular digital sales data with the charts companies outside of the US.
Regardless, ERA has sought some digital figures, and with digital and physical combined, the games market remains the most lucrative entertainment industry in the UK, representing 48% of the entire sector (in terms of revenue).
According to ERA, which is combining IHS estimates with GfK data, video games generated £1.44bn in the UK during the first six months of the year, an increase of 8.4% over the first half of 2016. Video revenue sits at £990m (growth of 1.2%), whereas music (driven by Ed Sheeran) has grown 11.2% year-on-year to £564.7m.
Here is the ERA chart:
|1||2,064,966||Divide - Ed Sheeran (Album)|
|2||1,180,496||Rogue One - A Star Wars Story (Video)|
|3||1,032,525||Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Video)|
|4||936,064||Bridge Jones's Baby (Video)|
|6||694,194||Human - Rag 'n' None Man (Album)|
|8||530,290||Now That's What I Call Music 96 (Album)|
|9||510,711||Doctor Strange (Video)|
|11||397,619||The Girl On The Train (Video)|
|12||352,199||Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Video)|
|13||334,280||Grand Theft Auto V (Game)|
|14||311,792||Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands (Game)|
|15||294,456||La La Land (Video)|
|17||286,538||Horizon Zero Dawn (Game)|
|19||268,888||Jack Reacher: Never Go Back|
|20||259,892||T2 - Trainspotting|