Grand Theft Auto V takes video gaming world by storm

Love it or hate it, Grand Theft Auto has been a money making machine since its original release in 1997.

The critically acclaimed series has sold more than 125 million units as of 2012 and is not expected to slow down anytime soon.

Now with the 2013 release of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA), sales are expected to sky rocket and fans of the series are definitely making that happen.

“I watched it blow up on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and basically any social media site. I can’t complain though I was just as excited,” laughed Thomas Sharpe who took two days off work after the games release to get a jump start on the game.

GTA V was launched on Tuesday Sept. 17, and within 24 hours of its release it became a huge commercial success, generating $800 million worth of revenue with 13-14 million units sold.

Within three days, GTA V generated a total of $1 billion in sales, making it the fastest selling entertainment product in the history of gaming.

The game currently sits as the third highest rated game on Metacritic behind its previous installment Grand theft Auto 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

With its graphic game play, it was inevitable that GTA V would take flack for it’s vivid depiction of the streets Los Santos.

“I think the controversy surrounding it is valid because everyone says how bad violence and drugs are but since it’s a video game and it’s not real then it’s suddenly okay,” said Carly MacDonald who still enjoys the series regardless of its intense themes.

With everything from prostitution to drug smuggling and political corruption, players can experience all the illicit activities taking place in Los Santos.

“It’s pretty extreme and minors definitely shouldn’t be allowed to play or even purchase the game. It might not be the leading cause of violence in young people but being exposed to it will still have some effect,” added MacDonald.

The series has been considered a poster child for video game violence world wide. This has prompted some to attempt to get the franchise banned and or restricted for purchase.

While these attempts have failed it begs the question, with increasing controversy, why is the GTA franchise still so popular?

I watched it blow up on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and basically any social media site. I can’t complain though I was just as excited. – Thomas Sharpe

There are a number of ways this could be answered but a common theme in many of the responses has been claiming that GTA is almost its own genre.

The game is completely open-ended which offers the player a lot of freedom to push boundaries and really do anything they want while in the game. While some games are scripted affairs jumping from one event to the next, GTA V challenges the gamer to make the city of Los Santos their own unique world. This style of game play is unique, especially as it uses many of the mechanics traditional used in first person shooters as its core.

Popular YouTube game channel SmoshGames was one of the first to review the game.

SmoshGames praised the game’s graphics having only minor complaints about small glitches, lagging while some textures loaded and long load times in general, but added that with a game of this magnitude that is to be expected.

YouTube Gamer PewDiePie posted a brief preview of the game play for GTA V.

A majority of his video was spent exploring the large map and differences in the game from its previous installments.

For a more detailed play-by-play of GTA V YouTube gamer Tobuscus has posted  a more engaging walk through of the games story line and missions on his gaming channel TobyGames.

Most gamers are still buzzing with the excitement of the release and taking time to explore the virtual world but others are already eagerly waiting for any news of the next installment in the GTA franchise.

About Faith Flores 7 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Faith Flores worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2013-2014 academic year.