Everyone is already assuming that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a commercial success and they’ll almost certainly be correct.
No one is doubting that the game will make a splash, and has a shot at being the year’s best seller, but can it outpace the best selling entertainment product ever made? Unlikely.
Rockstar Games created an absolute beast of a game with Grand Theft Auto 5, which recently crossed the 90 million copies shipped milestone, and with $6 billion in earnings is the single most profitable game ever released.
Though, if one were to consider World of Warcraft and all its expansions as a gestalt, it would be a higher earner), giving Red Dead Redemption 2 a bar too high to jump.
Industry analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Company discussed the wild success of GTA 5, and with Red Dead Redemption 2’s release coming up, it’s impossible not to address the question of whether Rockstar’s next title will eclipse it’s last.
Creutz was clear on this – it won’t, and it’s unlikely that any other Rockstar title that isn’t the next GTA would either, or any other game from other franchises, developers and publishers.
GTA 5 is an outlier according to Creutz, and it will hold onto its record for a good long while.
Of course, he’s hardly denying that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be successful. The game can be a sweeping financial success, moving tens of millions of copies and raking vastly more money than its budget and still fall short of 90 million copies and $6 billion in revenue.
To say that Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t out-sell GTA 5 isn’t panning the former, just further putting the insane success of Rockstar’s last masterpiece into perspective. Then again, the idea that it won’t outsell GTA 5 isn’t a new one.
Of course, the comparisons between GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are unfair in various ways.
While Grand Theft Auto has grown over a decade into becoming the quintessential mainstream gaming franchise with a vast array of games across many platforms, Red Dead isn’t as well known among non-gamer circles.
Everyone knows what GTA is, no matter how into video games they are, whereas Red Dead – with Redemption selling “just” 10 million copies – is a core gaming IP.
It’s one of the most discussed games on the internet, however the people discussing it are the people who would have bought it anyway. GTA 5 didn’t move 90 million copies because of the existing fans and gamers, otherwise all previous titles in the series would have similar numbers, but because Rockstar and Take-Two reached out to expand their audience. GTA 5’s arrival was heralded by billboards, liveries on trams, murals on the sides of buildings and a torrent of adverts.
While Red Dead Redemption 2 is hotly discussed, almost all of that discussion amounts to “when will we get more info” or “when will we get a GameInformer cover story” and so on. All other major AAA releases, including Grand Theft Auto 5 which comes from an infinitely more famous and known franchise, doubled down on pre-release publicity.
Red Dead Redemption 2’s success isn’t in question – even the analyst saying it won’t hit GTA 5’s level of success brings attention to this, however the measure of that success is the question
Not to mention, every fan of the franchise is starving for information about the game, which is half a year away. Hopefully, that release date set for the 26th of October will really be the final one – Take-Two’s CEO seems to be confident in that at least.