As Grand Theft Auto game sales increase, Take-Two boss says annualised IP "eventually hits the wall"

Compares GTA to the James Bond series. Will avoid Call of Duty model.

The Grand Theft Auto series has shipped a whopping 125 million units, Take-Two has confirmed.

That's 11 million up on the 114 million figure reported in September 2011. 25 million units of Grand Theft Auto 4 have been shipped.

Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick revealed the updated figures at the Credit Suisse 2012 Technology Conference (covered by Gamespot).

There, Zelnick said Grand Theft Auto's increasing appeal is down to Rockstar's refusal to annualise the franchise. He compared it to the James Bond franchise. Like Bond films, GTA games do not come out every year or even every two years, Zelnick said, a release schedule that keeps both series “special”.

Zelnick praised Activision boss Bobby Kotick and the annualised Call of Duty series for releasing a “quality product” every year, but insisted Take-Two will not copy its publishing rival's strategy.

“It's our view that if you want intellectual property to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise,” Zelnick said. “[Activision] obviously views the world differently.”

Zelnick highlighted the danger of annualising IP by pointing to sales of Black Ops 2, which are below those of last year's Modern Warfare 3. This, he said, suggests the Call of Duty series is slowing.

“That's never been the case with one of ours,” he said. “Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual property if you annualise it, with the exception of sports titles.

“So far that's proven to be the case. IP that is annualised eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall.”

Zelnick's words look set to ring true next year when Grand Theft Auto 5 goes on sale. Analysts expect it to outsell Grand Theft Auto 4, and some believe it will be the best-selling game of all time.

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