Despite being nearly four years old, Grand Theft Auto Online continues to grow in popularity with Take-Two Interactive announcing that the online mode has just had its best ever money-making quarter.
The popularity of GTA Online helped to increase Take-Two’s net sales for the first quarter to $348.3 million, up 28%. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, 94% of that came from sales of back catalog games with Grand Theft Auto V and NBA 2K17 leading the way.
In a briefing call with GamesIndustry.biz, Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick revealed the company’s financial results for the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year which have been better than expected, helped massively by the success of GTA Online. However, he noted that the success of the mode has exceeded Take-Two’s expectations with the company never expecting it to last as long as it has, let alone continue to go from strength to strength.
“When we first launched GTA Online, we didn’t know how the title would be received,” Zelnick said. “And we didn’t know how virtual currency sales would pencil out. One of the reasons we haven’t released a lot of metrics around that is because we’ve been learning as we go along. What I’m proud of is our approach at this company genuinely is first and foremost to entertain and delight our consumers, and only well after that point to think about how we monetize that engagement. As it turns out, monetization has gone very well indeed.
Zelnick went on to say that Take-Two anticipated GTA Online to show moderate results for this year, but instead the mode is set to have its best year to date.
“When we launched GTA Online, we had virtual currency sales experience with NBA 2K, but we had no experience about what an online offering could look like on an ongoing basis. Even this year, we said we expected GTA Online to moderate its results. Now we’re expecting it to have a record year. So clearly we continue to learn about consumer behaviour as it occurs.”
For the three months ending June 30th, Take-Two reported net revenues of $418.2 million. As a result, the company has increased its net sales expectations for the rest of the fiscal year from $1.42 to $1.52 billion to anywhere between $1.65 and $1.74 billion based on its better than expected first quarter results.
With no major releases over the last quarter or due for the rest of fiscal 2018, with the exception of the annual release of NBA 2K18, investors will be looking towards fiscal 2019 with great anticipation with Take-Two expecting record net sales totalling $2.5 billion, partly due to Red Dead Redemption 2 being set to release during Take-Two’s 2019 fiscal year.
The best year with regards to revenue for Take-Two was during its 2014 fiscal year which saw it bring in $2.414 billion thanks to the launch of Grand Theft Auto V.