GTA 5 continues to be a huge success, nearly seven years after making its debut on PS3 and Xbox 360.
Routinely appearing in the top-ten sales charts even to this day, the open-world action game has sold over 130 million copies worldwide.
The ongoing success is partly down to the continued support for GTA Online, which has made developer Rockstar and publisher Take-Two an absolute boatload of money in revenue.
The worry is that with Grand Theft Auto 5 continuing to rake in the cash, publisher Take-Two won’t green-light a sequel.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick addressed the scenario during recent Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference (via GamesIndustry.biz).
In a surprising update that should make Grand Theft Auto fans extremely happy, Zelnick suggests that GTA Online could remain profitable, even with the release of GTA 6.
To highlight his point – and without mentioning GTA by name – Zelnick spoke about the success of the NBA 2K Online franchise in China.
“What actually happened was that when we launched NBA 2K Online 2, it turned out to be a massive hit,” he said.
“And guess what? The audience was still stable and growing for NBA 2K Online itself, the first title. So we kept them both up and they’re both up to this day.”
“We can’t call what a consumer is going to want to do, but we know if we’re not innovative, if we’re not out in the market generating extraordinary new entertainment experiences for our consumers, then we’ll be left behind.
“Any time you look at a business and you take the position, ‘This is great, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I’m just going to stick with it and I’m not going to worry about innovating because everyone loves what we have,’ you are just moments away from being destroyed by your competitors.
“Since your lunch is going to get eaten anyhow, I prefer to eat it myself, to get out in front of my competitors and always get to market when the time is right with the next great thing.
“And I don’t worry about the possibility it will somehow have a negative influence on what was previously in the market.”
Judging by the response, Take-Two isn’t worried about what effect a new Grand Theft Auto game will have on the existing release.
This means the GTA 6 release date isn’t likely to be delayed until the popularity of GTA Online starts to dip.
Previous rumours have suggested GTA 6 will be set in the 1970s or 1980s, and feature a single playable protagonist.
Likewise, the next Grand Theft Auto game will allegedly take place in Vice City and Rio de Janeiro.
It’s also been claimed that the Grand Theft Auto sequel would launch on PS5 and Xbox Series. This ties in to a previous leak that suggested GTA 6 would have a 2020 release date, although this now looks highly unlikely.