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Commentary: New ‘Grand Theft Auto’ a phenomenal release, breaks records

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A screen shot from the game ‘Grand Theft Auto V,’ which was released Sept. 17 and made around $800 million its first day.  Credit: Courtesy of MCT

A screenshot from the game ‘Grand Theft Auto V,’ which was released Sept. 17 and made about $800 million its first day.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Three days.

That is all it took for the gaming behemoth “Grand Theft Auto V” to hit the $1 billion milestone.

It didn’t just leap past the other competitors, it pushed them on the ground, stole their cars and zoomed right past them. Move aside “Avatar” (2009) and “Call of Duty,” there is a new reigning king.

Rockstar Games released its highly-anticipated open world video game last Tuesday and has since been breaking numerous industry records. According to Take-Two Interactive, the company that owns Rockstar Games, the game made approximately $800 million worldwide in just the first 24-hour period of its release.

This has not only set a record for the gaming industry but entertainment as whole, knocking out all previous blockbuster film records. In comparison, 2011’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II” holds the record for the largest worldwide opening weekend at roughly $483 million in theatres.

Currently, the film “Avatar” holds the record for overall worldwide total sales at approximately $2.8 billion dollars. Released in 2009, “Avatar” has had plenty of time to accumulate these funds, and it is shocking to see “Grand Theft Auto V” is already more than a third of the way there in just a few days.

Another comparison for video game fans — it took “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” 15 days to hit the billion dollar mark.

For math fans, cranking down the three-day factor is even more impressive. If all purchases for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 were set to $60 a copy, there would have been about 16.7 million units sold in those 72 hours. That breaks down to more than 231,000 copies sold per hour, and a wicked 64 copies sold per second. Wow.

The reviews for “Grand Theft Auto V” thus far have been exceptionally good, with many critics rewarding the game with a perfect score.

Set in a satirical version of Los Angeles and the surrounding countryside, the game presents the player with a vast open world with countless things to explore. The scale is massive, the writing is phenomenal and the unique twist of a three-character narrative gives the game a fantastic new presentation.

The series is no stranger to controversy and it continues its adult themes full force in this game. Be warned: This is not a game for children. Strip clubs, drugs, sex and strong language are present throughout, in what seems like a whacky version of a Quentin Tarantino film. It is hilariously rewarding, and I would strongly suggest picking it up if you can handle the mature themes.

Rockstar Games plans to launch “Grand Theft Auto Online” Oct. 1, an online competitive and cooperative addition to the game. No doubt will this online factor continue to contribute to the phenomenal sales into the later portions of the year. The game is currently available on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, with no word on a next generation or a PC version.

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