One game stood out like a sore thumb on the latest Top 20 Highest-Selling Games list released annually by The NPD Group at the end of January. Amid new games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spider-Man was Grand Theft Auto V, which came out five years ago in 2013. Yup, “GTA 5.”
Looking at all the newly-released games that GTA 5 outsold really puts it into perspective. GTA 5 sold more than FIFA 2019, more than the celebrated Dragon Ball: Fighterz and even more than the brand new Battlefield V. At No. 11, GTA 5 sold just less than Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which came in at No. 10. Additionally, these total numbers are probably a lot higher since The NPD Group doesn’t track digital sales.
Everyone expects a Grand Theft Auto game to sell well, but few would expect that momentum to last for as long as it has. GTA 5 was even No. 6 on the most-sold games in the U.S. list in both 2016 and 2017. These numbers are particularly fascinating for the video games industry, which is traditionally rooted in having a fairly short attention span and celebrating the next thing to come along.
Who is still playing GTA 5 after all these years? More importantly, who is still buying the game after all these years? What has developer Rockstar Games done to keep the game interesting enough for people to purchase it years after its release?