GTA V to pull in $437 million in digital add-ons

Research firm Superdata says microtransactions and DLC for Rockstar's latest could generate $206 million in first year on sale

With today's (admittedly rocky) launch of Grand Theft Auto V's microtransaction-equipped GTA Online mode, Take-Two has taken the first steps to monetizing its blockbuster game's player base well beyond the $60 retail price point. Digital goods research firm Superdata today revealed its projections for the success of that effort, saying it expects Take-Two to bring in $206 million of additional digital sales in the game's first 12 months.

About $165 million of that total is expected to be taken up by downloadable content packs. While Rockstar hasn't fully detailed its DLC strategy yet, Superdata's figure assumed two add-on releases within the next year. The remaining $41 million will be accounted for by microtransactions, sales of virtual currency that can be used to purchase new equipment within the game.

Over an expected five-year lifespan, GTA V was projected to bring in $93 million in microtransactions, and $344 million for DLC purchases for a digital sales of secondary content total of $437 million. While considerable, it would still fall far short of the game's retail haul. Take-Two confirmed that GTA V generated more than $1 billion in sales in its first three days on sale.

Superdata noted that the microtransaction model is still unproven for major retail releases, and said the player base for GTA V may still be unfamiliar with the practice. Additionally, because the microtransactions will be optional tools to speed up progress rather than hard and fast roadblocks to progress, Superdata expects a smaller percentage of players will wind up being converted to purchasing customers than would be seen in a typical free-to-play hit.

"This isn't the game's next billion dollars, as some have supposed microtransactions will make Take-Two," Superdata said, adding, "It is, however, a successful foray into the microtransaction world for a console title. Games like Borderlands 2, though with an admittedly smaller player base, saw just over $10M in total digital content revenues in its first year."

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