How GTA 6’s $1,000,000,000 development cost stack up against GTA 5 sales

Some rumors put the upcoming game
Some rumors put the upcoming game's budget at $1 billion to $2 billion (Image via Rockstar Games)

The rumors of GTA 6's billion-dollar development wouldn't be too outrageous if one analyzed how successful GTA 5 sales were. As players might already know, the latter has sold over 180 million copies worldwide. That figure is only for when this article was written, as that video game usually moves another 5 million units every time Take-Two Interactive has an Earnings Call.

Neither Take-Two Interactive nor Rockstar Games has formally announced GTA 6. This highly anticipated title is something many people are looking forward to, yet its reveal date is still up in the air.

There were leaks that the game would have a budget of $1,000,000,000 to $2,000,000,000, making it the most expensive video game ever made if true. Remember, it's possible that this rumor is false.

GTA 5 sales show that a billion-dollar budget for GTA 6 wouldn't be too outrageous


GTA 5 was released back on September 17, 2013. Within 24 hours, there were reports of the game having earned over $800 million. Take-Two Interactive later confirmed that the game made over $1,000,000,000 in three days. This title would sell over 180 million copies a decade later, although there is no official estimate of how much money the game has earned thus far.

Nevertheless, these sales show that GTA 6 could easily make money back if the outrageous rumors of its billion-dollar budget are true. If a similar sales pattern happens with that title once it's released, it will make back its money in just three days.

Of course, it's possible that the unreleased Grand Theft Auto title could shatter sales expectations.

Rumors about the GTA 6 budget

The hacker behind the GTA 6 leaks has stated that the upcoming Grand Theft Auto game has already spent $2,000,000,000 in development. This number is higher than the rumored $1,000,000,000. Either way, both figures are significantly higher than what other expensive games have cost in the past.

Here is a list of how other ambitious projects cost during development:

  • Star Citizen: Over $415 million
  • Cyberpunk 2077: $174 million
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: $40~50 million

Those figures don't include marketing. Either way, the rumored $1 billion to $2 billion cost is significantly higher by comparison. It's possible that the leaker exaggerated the figure, but gamers won't know for certain until Rockstar Games or Take-Two Interactive announce such costs.

GTA 5's success

An estimate of how much the game earns yearly (Image via Netbet)
An estimate of how much the game earns yearly (Image via Netbet)

The success of Rockstar's last single-player game (excluding remasters) is not to be underestimated. GTA 5 is only behind Minecraft in terms of video games, with the most copies sold worldwide. Such success doesn't even include how much microtransactions have been sold via GTA Online's Shark Cards.

According to NetBet, GTA 5 earns approximately $911 million a year. The white figure shown here is merely for several minutes of work. If GTA 6 can replicate this success, then that would easily justify however high its true development cost might be.

The only way such a thing wouldn't happen is if the next Grand Theft Auto game bombs hard, which would be hard to consider given the hype for the title.

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