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Why GTA V is The Biggest Game in the World Right Now

Grand Theft Auto V

It’s all anyone in the gaming world is reading about and it’s quite quickly infecting the rest of the internet as well as normal news networks with its success. Headlines are throwing around with things like “GTA V makes $1 Billion in 3 days” and basically everyone on my newsfeed on Facebook seems to be making a status about it. But why exactly is Grand Theft Auto V the biggest game in the world right now? And what has made it so much more successful than its predecessor, which launched with a lot less fanfare than what we are seeing now?

Well if you ask me, it’s a mix of four different reasons: the genre, the timing, the marketing and the scale.

1.       The Genre

Firstly we have the genre, which somehow manages to take aspects from multiple gaming genres and amalgamate them into some kind of game-fusion (which people love!).

GTA V is an FPS-RPG with strong racing components and a large focus on open world exploration. Which is basically another way of saying that GTA V has aspects of shooters, RPGs, racing games and adventure titles – all tied together with a well-crafted story and a diverse host of characters. Basically it has managed to pick and choose some of the best parts of the most popular game genres in the world and thrown them all into one massive title – and even better than that, it somehow makes them work.

It’s always been a pretty GTA thing to do, and this time is no exception with its ambitious narrative angle and its incredibly diverse list of activities – GTA’s genre is basically anything you want to make it, and for that it has incredibly widespread appeal for gamers.

2.       The Timing

Ever heard of Dry July? It’s a gaming concept. Essentially there are two times of the year that people release video games – between February and June, and between September and December.

This is highlighted every year during July, when the game releases start dropping off and regular gamers find themselves without a fresh source of entertainment. This usually leads to replaying old games or working through your “pile of shame” – hence Dry July, when the world is dried up of new game releases.

Now a new game coming out in August takes some advantage of the fact that Dry July has just finished, and usually sees a boost in sales because of that – essentially because everyone is bored and wants to play something new. In the event that no AAA titles came out during August, this same bump gets transferred to a AAA game coming out in September – which is precisely where GTA V enters the scene. Without a big competitor coming out in August (like Guild Wars 2 last year), GTA V is basically entering a games market which has been dry since The Last of Us – and boy is it hitting hard.

3.       The Marketing

Everyone knows Rockstar goes heavy on marketing, and GTA V is no exception. Sydney has been flooded with posters, trailers are all over the internet and there are wallpaper ads everywhere – from skyscrapers to gaming website. Basically every media market has been tapped – which is exactly the way Rockstar markets their big titles.

Don’t believe me? Think back to the so-so release of L.A. Noire (a game without its flaws, and I’m not just talking about the whole Team Bondi fiasco). It took a couple months before anyone was confident enough to say “This isn’t exactly Red Dead Redemption”, and that delay was largely caused by the fact that the entire city and interwebz was basically flooded with promotion for it. Some people have even said that the marketing expenses were similar to the production costs, which weren’t exactly cheap after all that motion capture.

Rumours aside, it’s painfully obvious that Rockstar sets aside a large amount for its marketing expenditure – and this time is no exception.

GTA V you may have the world won over, but a lot of this is just spin at this point – let’s not lose sight of that while we are raving “BEST GAME EVA”.

4.       The Scale

Last but not least is the sheer scale of GTA V. As anyone can tell you, it takes place in massive city (or state really if we count the areas outside of the city as well) and while it may not have multiple cities like we have seen in previous GTA games – this time it does one city, and boy does it do it right.

Los Santos is one of the most, if not the most, detailed digital cities every created and the sheer size and scale of the city and the surrounding areas are a marketing point like no other. People are happy to play this game for hours on end and days on end because there is simply so much room to do so, and because of this freedom of choice word of mouth for the game spreads quite quickly.

It’s Skyrim syndrome all over again, with every man and his dog proclaiming their love of the joys of exploration from every outlet available – and for good reason.

It seems like a fact in the game industry these days that bigger is better (when we aren’t arguing over graphics that is) so I do have to give the begrudging nod to GTA V in this department – they’ve certainly done scale well.

Anyway those are my, slightly jaded, thoughts on GTA Vs successes so far. Stay tuned for more on GTA V as I delve deeper into Los Santos and prepare to review the fastest selling game of all time.

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