Red Dead Redemption 2 was announced earlier today, after a few days of teasing, and years of anticipation- and just about everyone has gone crazy over it. Hundreds of thousands of retweets and shares, and as many likes and shares, and this is just in a few hours. The excitement and frenzy around this game seems to have no end, and it begs the question- with Red Dead Redemption 2, could Rockstar have a game as big as Grand Theft Auto 5, currently the highest selling unbundled game of all time, on their hands?
This was the question we decided to ask Michael Pachter, well known analyst of Wedbush Securities, when we had a chance to talk with him. Pachter, on his part, seems to believe that Red Dead Redemption 2 is definitely primed for success- but it can not be as big as GTA5.
‘That’s a stretch, but maybe!’ he laughed. ‘I can tell you that I have pretty consistently been wrong on the Grand Theft Auto series. When GTA3 came out, I modeled 325,000 units, and I missed by only 25 million. And when GTA5 came out, I thought it would sell 35 million, so I only missed by 31 million. So, you know, who knows? It’s entirely possible that Red Dead Redemption 2 is like the movie Titanic, you know, just one of those things you don’t expect to be phenomenal, but then end up being a phenomenon.
‘I will say that you can’t dismiss the talent at Rockstar,’ he continued. ‘They are so good. Their games are so interesting, so well crafted, so fun to play, and so beautiful, that of course there’s going to be a huge audience for this. But I think that, when you compare the gameplay and story and fan interest in a series like Red Dead, I think it’s more comparable to something like Fallout, where it’s super interesting and well done and well crafted game, but not as big as Call of Duty, for example. There’s something about GTA, where you get to be a bad boy, get to go on raids with gangs, and there’s all sorts of cool missions, and you really can’t do this as well in the older western setting. Because the weapons don’t allow it, the transportation doesn’t allow it- no helicopters or boats or cars, you have horses. So I think the appeal is less than GTA, but again, I was off by literally half for GTA sales, so, you know, I think Red Dead does between 15-20 million, and I’d be surprised if it did 40 million, but I’m sure a lot of people are thinking that. I mean, GTA5 did 66 million- and this game, it’s just highly unlikely that it’s the best selling game of all time.’
It sounds reasonable enough- GTA5 sales came from five platforms and three separate releases. Then also, Grand Theft Auto is a bigger brand, and its setting, by nature, is far more appealing and relatable than something like Red Dead. Red Dead Redemption 2 is indisputably going to be a big hit- but expecting a GTA5 level hit may be a bit of a stretch.