The publisher of Grand Theft Auto V, Take-Two, estimates that the latest installment in the controversy-courting, open-world crime franchise pulled in an impressive $800 million in retail sales during its first 24 hours.
If that number is to be believed, that means that GTA V sold more than 13 million copies at $60 per copy in its first day on store shelves. The game was released on both Microsoft's Xbox 360 console and Sony's PlayStation 3. Those numbers substantially eclipse the previous record for first-day video game sales—the $500 million tally set by the newest Call of Duty game last autumn.
Whether or not these sales numbers can maintain their current rate or decline steadily remains to be seen. The fact that GTA V is already halfway to surpassing the previous installment—GTA IV's 25 million units—is a healthy sign, but it remains unclear exactly how the new consoles launching from both Microsoft and Sony in November will eat into the current console generation's sales.
Regardless of financial forecasts, the game's performance still bodes well for developer Rockstar and parent company Take-Two. Analysts had previously predicted day one sales of the title to do only half as well as it actually did.
Over at Vulture, it was noted that only two films this year, Iron Man 3 and Despicable Me 2, had hit the same revenue mark as GTA V, and those were only over the course of the films' entire theatrical run. It is worthwhile to note, however, that while the games industry does continue to be the fastest growing entertainment industry, comparing revenues from a product that brings in $60 per customer versus the film industry's average $8.38-per-ticket sales leads to skewed comparisons.
Still, $800 million should help recoup the game's allegedly massive budget and 13 million copies is certainly nothing to sneeze at. That those statistics are tied to a game like Grand Theft Auto is practically inviting controversy to rear its head.