With Christmas out of the way and the New Year upon us, it is a great time to reflect on the gaming year that was, or even the gaming week that was. Specifically, the last sales week of the year ran from 23rd December right up to December 30th. Nicely covering those late Christmas presents and boxing day sales. The UK chart for the week is out and there a few interesting highlights in the top 20.
The top two spots are held by Call of Duty WWII and FIFA ’18 respectively. No real surprise there considering COD is always a hit and in regards to FIFA, essentially its football and its the UK… enough said. Star Wars Battlefront II in there at #3 and Assassins Creed Origins at #4. All fair showings, AAA games released over the past few months. No doubt a result of Christmas wish lists or gift cards/Christmas money. Then things start to get a bit interesting.
Tucked nicely in there poetically at #5 is GTA V. Now, for a game that is close to 5 years old still holding its own in the upper reaches of a sales chart is stunning. In fact, I don’t think it has left the charts since it’s release. A bit of research reveals some mind boggling numbers. It has sold 85 million copies as of November (showing few signs of slowing) and generated almost $2 billion of revenue on day one… $2 BILLION. No wonder there is no sign of a sequel on the horizon. Almost half a decade since release and its still going like the clappers.
Very few series have been as consistently commercially and critically successful as Grand Theft Auto. From humble beginnings as a top down sprite based sandbox game in the 90’s before making its 3D debut on the PlayStation 2. Arguably, the genesis of the sand box game a genre perfectly suited to the horsepower of the later generations of console. Again arguably Grand Theft Auto perfected the genre to the point where there is really only one place to go for that type of “do what you want” experience.
Every entry in the series has been a massive seller. However this one has been a little different. Historically, even going back to the original games of the series. Each new release would bring on moral panic like a clock striking twelve. Mainstream media asking the question about video game violence, detailing the horrible things a player can do in the game. Think of the children! (Despite the fact the game has always had an R rating).
However with the release of GTA V. It suddenly appeared that something clicked. The moral panic had quietened, replaced by praise for its satire and coverage detailing its immense immediate success. A recognition of things that gamers had known and enjoyed all along. Dare I say mainstream recognition of game design as an art form.
Grand Theft Auto as a series turned 20 this year and it has come a long way. Beginning as a top down PC game it has arguably become the most popular series in modern video game history with critical acclaim to match. With GTA V still in the upper reaches of the charts in the UK and globally, it may turn out to be the best selling video game of all time.
Well deserved also. Happy New Year.