Intermittent releases are the secret to GTA’s success

When the Grand Theft Auto V trailer was about to drop, there were Tweets from news outlets counting down until the moment they were free to air it. Game Informer had the first texclusive piece about the game, and outlets milked it for every morsel they could find. The series just surpassed 125 million games sold, with each subsequent title outselling the last. This doesn’t tend to happen with many games.

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Part of this achievement is connected to the fact the GTAs are such acclaimed games, but another may have to do with the fact that there is a buffer of years between each release. 

[Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick] puts this roaring success down to keeping away from annualized releases for the franchise. “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,” he explained.

“[Activision] obviously views the world differently,” he added, noting that Call of Duty: Black Ops II has not yet performed as well as last year’s Call of Duty installment Modern Warfare 3.

“That’s never been the case with one of ours. Ours do better each time…”

A shot at Call of Duty and an argument for intermittent releases? There may be hope for games after all.

Even if we think we want it, we don’t need the same thing thrown at us every year. The success of GTA shows how effective a little break can be — absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not only does it give the developers and games time to mature, but it keeps new content from seeming so tired.