GTA Online has best quarter ever and ‘is a standard bearer for the industry’ says Take-Two’s Zelnick

The company's net revenue grew by 6% to $443.6m with sales growing by 20% overall to $577m.

Take-Two's latest financial results are out and it should come as no surprise that Grand Theft Auto 5 is still making the company a lot of money. The game itself has now sold into retail a gigantic 85m units, with US stat-tracker NPD previously reporting that the title is officially the all-time best-selling video game in revenue and units in the US.

Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick, speaking to MCV last night, commented: "We think GTA 5 is the must-have title for this generation and having now sold over 85m units it's reasonable to to believe that's what's going on."

While units sales are undoubtedly profitable for the company, it's been the profitability of the GTA Online mode that has continued to see Take-Two perform so strongly. "It's exciting that four years after the initial release, Grand Theft Auto Online is going to have another record year, net bookings are up year-on-year," said Zelnick, with the report stating that the online game delivered 'its best quarter yet'.

The results were from its fiscal second quarter 2018, which ended September 30, 2017. Which stated that total recurrent consumer spending (including virtual currency, add-on content and microtransactions) grew 66% year-over-year and accounted for 48% of total net revenue.

"I think it's purely driven by the quality of the title, it's a standard bearer for the generation, it's a standard bearer for the industry. And we're incredibly proud of Rockstar games for delivering such an amazing entertainment experience," Zelnick told us.

"It's exciting that four years after the initial release, Grand Theft Auto Online is going to have another record year"

Strauss Zelnick, CEO Take-Two

He would not be drawn to comment on the geographical distribution of the game's ongoing popularity, saying simply that its success was "Worldwide, the results are across the board." The game's continued popularity is all the more impressive given that the increasing number of games-as-a-service titles that it's competing with, such as Ghost Recon: Wildlands and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

In other Rockstar-related news, Zelnick was upbeat about the potential of the upcoming remastered version of L.A. Noire, saying: I think it's going to do great, the title has sold in around 7.5m units. it's beloved, it's a very unusual title, it's a great big experience and quite a modern experience and I think it's going to do just great."

And he was firm in his defence when we asked if the game's timing was related to the company's thin release slate this year, after the delay of Red Dead Redemption 2, while talking enthusiastically about its VR element.

"We don't think that way, we're here to delight consumers, we thought it was a great opportunity to bring L.A. Noire back, and in addition to offer a virtual reality experience for seven of the cases, and we're really excited about the creative exercise related to that. We don't tailor our release schedule to our numbers, our numbers are a result of the quality of our release schedule and how much consumers like it."

The company's net revenue grew by 6% to $443.6m with sales (now called bookings) growing by 20% overall to $577m. All digital revenues grew in total by 31% to $302.9 million, as compared to $230.8 million in last year’s fiscal second quarter, and accounted for 68% of total net revenue - showing just how far digital shift has come when you factor in all spending and not just full-game titles.