GTA 5 sold even better after its Epic Store giveaway

(Image credit: Rockstar)

The unstoppable money-making machine that is Grand Theft Auto 5 is still going strong in 2020, with publisher Take Two predicting an even stronger year for GTA Online in the fiscal year ahead, it said in its Q1 earnings call on Monday. 

Take Two praised the strong performance of GTA Online since its Diamond Casino update last year and record-breaking active player numbers, but what's really surprising is how well GTA 5 has sold, even after it was given away for free on the Epic Games Store.

"In the six weeks following the Epic Store promotion, Grand Theft Auto 5 sold more units in the same period than in any previous year," CEO Strauss Zelnick said. The week-long free giveaway unsurprisingly pushed GTA Online to new highs for in-game spending and the second-best ever period for new player sign-ups since it first launched in 2012.

GTA Online has somehow been massive for eight years, and seems destined to be around for many more: Rockstar will be bringing the game to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X next year. On PC, it's hardly a surprise that the free giveaway would be a boon to GTA Online's user numbers, but it's amazing to see GTA 5 itself sell even better than ever in the weeks that followed. As Zelnick simply stated to, they chalk up those sales to the giveaway "increasing the size of the audience."

Zelnick said that GTA 5 has now passed more than 135 million sales over its lifetime. In February of this year, it was only around the 120 million mark.


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Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).