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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V Muscles Its Way to Sales Record

Grand Theft Auto V, one of the most anticipated video games of the year, has beaten sales figures posted by previous installments in the violent and controversial adventure game series. The new game generated more than $800 million in sales on its first day on store shelves.

Take-Two Interactive Software, the publisher of the game, said those first-day sales were the biggest ever for the company and the Grand Theft Auto series, which seems to have lost little appeal even though the first edition of the series was released 16 years ago.

The last major version of the game, Grand Theft Auto IV, had $310 million in opening day sales when it came out in 2008. It sold more than $500 million in its first week.

The video game industry is undergoing major shifts that pose big challenges to traditional publishers, as the opportunities proliferate for playing games on mobile devices, many of them available free or at low costs. But the success of the industry’s biggest blockbuster franchises appears to be secure for now.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the most recent version of the popular combat game series from Activision, earned $1 billion in sales late last year after 15 days on the market. The previous installment of the game did the same after 16 days.

New versions of Grand Theft Auto come out less frequently than others, partly because of the meticulousness of Rockstar Games, the development studio responsible for it. Rockstar has a cultlike following among gamers and others in the industry for the painstaking research and technical wizardry that go into making its games.

Grand Theft Auto, which takes place in a vast virtual world populated by thugs, has also become a magnet for wider criticism of the games business by politicians and others incensed by its brutality.

The new version of the game has received glowing reviews, including from The New York Times, which called it the “best plotted, most playable, character-driven, fictionally coherent entry” in the history of the series.