As if Xbox Game Pass couldn't get any better for $10 a month, Rockstar brings the biggest game of all time to the service: GTA V.
Grand Theft Auto V is now playable free as part of Game Pass, a move that will bring tons of ripple-down effects for Take-Two Interactive. Given GTA V's colossal sales, this is a tremendous win for everyone involved and should boost Game Pass subscriptions across the board. The service is one of the most accessible ways to sample a wide berth of games in the entire industry, making it a potent and transformative force for publishers.
The motivations here are crystal clear. Take-Two simply wants to make more money from a game that's already made billions. Game Pass is a proven avenue to spark full game sales, and it's no surprise that GTA V is also on sale for 50% off. This is clearly a tactical move to push more GTA V sales past the current 115 million lifetime peak.
Game Pass will also help push more GTA Online earnings via microtransactions as the playerbase swells.
GTA V simply shows no signs of stopping. Take-Two expected earnings to moderate and slow down through this fiscal year, but the recent Diamond Casino and Resort update skyrocketed player numbers to new record-breaking heights. The game's online mode continually contributes huge portions of Take-Two's quarterly microtransaction earnings, which routinely break the hundreds of millions mark.
"Recurrent consumer spending on GTA Online grew 23% YoY to a new record, driven by the July release of the Diamond Casino Resort update. This update was GTA Online's biggest content launch ever, delivering record daily, weekly, and monthly active users in July and again in August," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said in November.
Rockstar is currently developing Grand Theft Auto 6 and we should also see some sort of online-driven component to that game as well.
I'm not sure how long GTA V will remain on Game Pass--this might be one of those brief demo-esque promotions aimed at pulling players in--but I suspect it will be among the first games to rotate out. Take-Two really wants you to buy the game and sees it as one of the quintessential must-own titles of our era.
Based on the current sales figures, I'd say everyone else agrees too.
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