The Grand Theft Auto series has been around for more than a decade now, and it's still as popular as ever. With Grand Theft Auto V releasing this coming spring, fans of the series are as about as excited as they could possibly get, thanks to a bunch of teasers in the form of trailers and screenshots. Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick says that the reason why the GTA series is still popular and "special" is that the game doesn't see annual releases.
Zelnick obviously brought up the elephant in the room, the popular Call of Duty series, which has seen a yearly release for the past eight years, dating back to the launch of Call of Duty 2 in 2005. Zelnick says that Activision "obviously views the world differently." However, Take-Two's view is 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."
The success of the GTA series is a result of Take-Two's avoidance of yearly releases, which Zelnick says keeps the series "special." While franchises like Call of Duty get rebooted each year (and see greater success each time), Zelnick noted the danger of this type of business model, and says that Take-Two is not willing to take those kinds of risks with the GTA series.
The Grand Theft Auto series has shipped 125 million copies since its initial launch in 1997, and this is up 11 million copies since September 2011 when Take-Two announced 114 million copies. According to one of the publisher's representatives, Grand Theft Auto IV shipped 25 million copies, representing 20% of all GTA copies shipped.