Way back in September 2013, IGEA began publishing its weekly charts, shortly after Grand Theft Auto V’s initial release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It has since launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (November 2014) and PC (April 2015).
Since January 1 the following year, some 249 weeks ago, I have been meticulously tracking the weekly Top 10 sales positions for All Platforms across annual excel files that each boast around 60 tabs. To say that I am obsessed with tracking this data, may be an understatement.
Since we started our deeper dive into sales positions and trends a couple of weeks ago, it became blatantly obvious that one title has been a nigh on constant member of the IGEA All Platforms chart, both here and in Australia – Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V.
GTA V has exited the Top 10 in both Australia and New Zealand this week, a trend that has occurred for the past 5 years as we roll into AAA season, so we thought we would take a look back at its performance.
In the 248 weeks since we started tracking each title’s position, GTA V has appeared in the Australian Top 10 190 times (76.61%) and a staggering 212 times in New Zealand (85.48%).
As mentioned above, the most common time you wouldn’t see it feature in the charts was between Week 40 and year’s end each year – the highly competitive pre-Christmas period. The longest GTA V ever spent outside the charts was 13 weeks in Australia (Week 34 to 46, 2013) and only six weeks in New Zealand (Week 41 to 46, 2013 and Week 42 to 47, 2017). In fact, in New Zealand, outside of those two periods, GTA V has never gone more than three weeks without placing somewhere inside the Top 10.
2014 was GTA V’s worst year in Australia, failing to appear in the charts for 27 out of 52 weeks – 46.55% of its total time out of them in the country. Across the ditch, GTA V had its worst year in 2017, failing to make the Top 10 on 15 occasions. In stark contrast to this, between Week 47, 2014 and Week 36, 2016 (94 weeks), the title only missed appearing in the Top 10 once! (Week 42, 2015).
As we did with our Charting success article, which tracked the performance of Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, Far Cry 5 and God Of War, we wanted to be able to showcase GTA V’s performance in a visual format. The two below graphs were generated by giving the title a score from one to ten for each week, with ten points for first down to one for tenth. In the weeks that the titles didn’t appear in the charts, it was awarded a -1 and appears below the black line. Again, each graph tracks from Week 1, 2014 to Week 39, 2018.
As you can see illustrated above, GTA V hasn’t always been atop the Australian and New Zealand charts, in the 248 weeks tracked, it only managed it a total of ten weekly number ones in Australia and eight in New Zealand, last appearing in the top spot in 2016 in both countries, but you can’t deny, a game that is now just had its fifth birthday, has been the constant.
After sifting through my mountains of weekly data, I wanted to go back and look at the titles annual performances, something we have also tracked since 2014. It comes as no surprise that GTA V has been one of the top selling titles every year since. It finished in third spot in both Australia and New Zealand in both 2014 and 2015, it was number four in Australia and number two in New Zealand in 2016 and was fifth last year in Australia and third in New Zealand.
GTA V’s sales performance has defined a generation. Let it not go unsaid that these figures are only for new physical copy sales at retail. A phenomenal feat when you consider that this is the first Grand Theft Auto title to not receive a stand alone expansion since Vice City back in 2002 – these immersive, massive expansions had become Rockstar’s go to. GTA V’s success has undeniably come from Grand Theft Auto Online, which launched two weeks after the titles initial launch in 2013. Constantly updated with new vehicles, missions and game modes, Rockstar has set the bench mark for games as a service, and has shown that a title played mostly online, generating large percentages of their on going revenue with in game currency, can be a success at retail.