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Take-Two: Grand Theft Auto V Sells 90 Million Units, CEO Says Company Is ‘Focused On Players, Not Payers’

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Take-Two Interactive, the publisher behind the Grand Theft Auto series, just recently held its quarterly investor conference call, where the company's executive team shared lots of information about future plans, including microtransactions and other juicy details.

In terms of sales, CFO Lainie Goldstein said recurrent consumer spending continues to grow for the company, and that element is a big focus for all its games. It feels that there are a lot more opportunities ahead in that field.

Take-Two On Microtransactions

CEO Strauss Zelnick then talked about the prevalence of microtransactions, and how they get a bad rap in the gaming community, most recently exemplified by the infamous Star Wars Battlefront II and the widespread rage it spawned for having what was deemed a shady microtransaction model.

For Take-Two, according to Zelnick, the strategy has always been to "captivate and engage consumers" — revenue is just a function of that strategy, not the other way around. The company must keep players happy and excited, which would then yield "really great results" in terms of recurrent revenue.

The world has changed, the CEO said. If it pulls the right moves, it has the opportunity to keep people engaged. He said that the most thrilling aspect of its business is seeing record numbers of people actually playing.

So how does Take-Two plan on inviting new customers to join Grand Theft Auto Online? Zelnick said that the company is "focused on players, not payers." If it keeps them engaged and captivated, everything else follows. One such way to keep players rapt is by giving them free content, which is a strategy Rockstar Games has pulled off "remarkably well" and what makes Grand Theft Auto a success.

Grand Theft Auto V Sales

Grand Theft Auto V has now shipped 90 million units worldwide, a staggering achievement for a game that was only released in 2013 — barely five years ago. Asked why the game has been so successful in terms of sales, Zelnick couldn't offer an explanation but said that the key is to build "a really extraordinary experience" for players and for the company behind it to never rely on its past laurels and always achieve to innovate and break barriers.

Overall, the company is reporting revenue of $480.8 million and a net income of $25.1 million for the third fiscal quarter, a stunning comeback from last year's $29 million loss in the same quarter. Digital sales made up 54 percent of its overall revenue at $258.4 million.

"During the holiday season, we benefited from high consumer demand for our offerings, enabling our Company to deliver another quarter of both strong [sales.] Our stellar results were highlighted by record recurrent consumer spending on both Grand Theft Auto Online and NBA 2K18, robust ongoing sales of GTA V, and the successful launch of WWE 2K18," Take-Two said.

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