Grand Theft Auto grows stronger because it isn't annualized, Take-Two CEO says

The Grand Theft Auto series has shipped 125 million copies in its 15-year history, with Grand Theft Auto IV alone responsible for 25 million of those. With GTA 5 coming soon, how does Rockstar Games sell more of each new entry than the last? Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick says it's because every release is special.

Zelnick spoke at the Credit Suisse 2012 Technology Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., as reported by GameSpot. While there he praised Activision's ability to maintain high quality in its annualized Call of Duty franchise, but said he understands that comparatively weaker sales for Black Ops II than last year's Modern Warfare 3 may be an indication of consumer exhaustion.

"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise," Zelnick said. "[Activision] obviously views the world differently."

Instead, he compared Grand Theft Auto to the James Bond series of films, which recently had its 50th anniversary and a box office success with Skyfall. Consumers don't expect a new GTA or Bond film every two years, so they feel they have more to look forward to when one does come along.

"Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that's proven to be the case. IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall."

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.