Red Dead Re­demp­tion pre­quel out­sells 2010 game within eight days

The Guardian - - FINANCIAL - Mark Sweney

The maker of Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 has said the record-set­ting game racked up more global sales in its first eight days than its pre­de­ces­sor man­aged in eight years.

Rock­star, the Ed­in­burgh-based, USowned firm which is also be­hind the Grand Theft Auto mega-fran­chise, said it “sold in” 17m copies of the Amer­i­can fron­tier game to re­tail out­lets in its first 13 days on the mar­ket. The “sold in” tally is the num­ber of copies of the £50 game have been or­dered and shipped to re­tail­ers, not its con­sumer sales fig­ures.

How­ever, the game has proved red hot with fans. It clocked up $725m (£558m) in sales on its open­ing week­end, mak­ing it the sec­ond big­gest launch of any en­ter­tain­ment prod­uct and few of the 17m shipped are likely to be left on shelves.

This means that in less than two weeks the ti­tle, which has re­ceived out­stand­ing re­views and nu­mer­ous “per­fect” scores from games crit­ics, has ef­fec­tively out­sold the es­ti­mated 15m life­time sales of the orig­i­nal Red Dead Re­demp­tion, re­leased in 2010.

The only ti­tle to en­joy a big­ger launch is Grand Theft Auto V, which made $1bn in its first three days, and has gone on to sell over 100m copies.

“The orig­i­nal game was well re­ceived but be­cause of the [West­ern] set­ting it didn’t at that time stoke the em­bers of ex­cite­ment from tra­di­tional Rock­star fans more used to Grand Theft Auto,” said Piers Hard­ing-Rolls, head of games re­search at IHS Markit.

“With Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 the wait has been so long and the crit­i­cal re­cep­tion so good the huge Grand Theft user base has proved ready to try out a new Rock­star prod­uct.”

Sales of the game have out­stripped an­a­lysts’ ex­pec­ta­tions and Take-Two In­ter­ac­tive, the par­ent com­pany of Rock­star, raised its full-year rev­enue and profit fore­cast as a re­sult.

“Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 sold in more units in its first eight days than the orig­i­nal block­buster Red Dead Re­demp­tion sold in its first eight years and, as of to­day, the ti­tle has sold in over 17m units world­wide,” Strauss Zel­nick, founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Take-Two, told in­vestors at the com­pany’s quar­terly fi­nan­cial up­date.

In the UK the gam­ing busi­ness is the largest in the en­ter­tain­ment sec­tor. Sales of games soft­ware alone, both dig­i­tal and boxed games, rose 8.3% last year to a new high of £3.56bn.

By com­par­i­son, box of­fice rev­enues from UK cin­e­mas hit £1.4bn last year. The UK mu­sic in­dus­try made £1.2bn from the sale of CDs, stream­ing sub­scrip­tions and vinyl records. And to­tal rev­enues from dig­i­tal video – which in­cludes ser­vices such as Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime, Ap­ple’s iTunes and Sky’s on-de­mand store – as well as sales and rental of DVDs reached £3.35bn.

“Games have the abil­ity to out­per­form some of the big­gest movies and mu­sic al­bum sales,” said Hard­ing-Rolls.

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