If you grew up with a PlayStation 2, you’ll remember the sheer madness surrounding the release of Grand Theft Auto III. In an era of parental outrage and boycotts regarding violence and offensive content in entertainment, GTA 3 bore the brunt for the gaming industry. But the franchise has navigated its controversial identity sharply, focusing on developing great games instead of drowning under pressure. The replay value and overall quality of work put into GTA titles is always impressive, and the latest entry, 2013's Grand Theft Auto V, just reached an undisputed benchmark in those terms—generating nearly $6 billion, and thereby becoming the most profitable entertainment title in history, shockingly surpassing even record-breaking movies like Star Wars and Gone With The Wind.
According to MarketWatch, GTA 5 is most popular on the PlayStation 3, with a third of consumers choosing the 12-year-old console as the preferred platform to steal cars and cruise the streets, with PC users contributing to a mere 2.1 percent of sales. Overall, the game has sold around an astonishing 90 million units in total—an utterly remarkable increase from the franchise’s second-most popular entry, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which counts 27 million units sold. Presumably, it isn’t just that developer Rockstar made the best, most refined iteration of its console-spanning series, but the online component that makes it such a replayable, continuously profitable entry. GTA Online is reportedly still quite popular, and GTA 5 keeps frequently popping up at the top of video game charts nearly five years after it dropped. If that isn’t longevity in 2018, we’re not sure what is.
As a lifelong gamer whose all-nighters have sadly waned in recent years, GTA is one of those rare franchises that has my attention for life. The last game I bought was GTA 5, and the next one will surely be its follow-up—which is thankfully in the works as you’re reading this. There is simply too much incredible writing, satire, narrative engagement, soundtrack production, and playability for anyone who loves video games not to buy a GTA title when it drops. This series has grown admirably, with each subsequent entry seemingly better than the one before—and if that’s still true today, we have a monster of a game headed our way when GTA 6 finally gets a release date.