And that’s why the industry gets excited, sits up and pays attention when the words ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are uttered.
Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick told the Credit Suisse 2012 Technology Conference – as reported by GameSpot – that the series has now shipped 125m units worldwide.
Of that total Grand Theft Auto IV accounts for 25m units.
The last time the company released GTA sales figures in September 2011 they stood at 114m.
Zelnick also explained why he doesn’t believe Grand Theft Auto can follow the lead of IP such as Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed by releasing a new instalment every year.
"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise,” he argued. “[Activision] obviously views the world differently."
Pointing out that Black Ops II looks likely to fall short of the sales numbers posted by its predecessor, he added: "That's never been the case with one of ours. Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that's proven to be the case.
“IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall."
He went on to liken GTA to James Bond, whose unpredictable release schedule he believes plays a part in keeping the series “special”.