Grand Theft Auto Online – the free multiplayer portion of GTA 5 – has generated half a billion dollars in revenue through microtransactions, according to the lawsuit filed by former Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies against his former employers.
"GTA Online has the potential to achieve the greatest profit margin of any game created in the GTA franchise," reads the lawsuit, because purchases made in the game through microtransactions "have a nearly 100% profit margin, subject only to nominal development costs and app store commissions".
Benzies is suing Rockstar Games and parent company Take Two Interactive for $150 million in unpaid royalties and "numerous deceptions". He left the company in January after a sabbatical that began in September 2014. Benzies claims he was shut out by Rockstar founders Sam and Dan Houser.
In November Take Two chief executive Strauss Zelnick revealed that eight million players were, at the time, still playing the game each week, two years on from the game's launch. In February 2016 GTA 5 hit 60 million units sold worldwide since its launch in 2013, aided by the 2014 release of PS4 and Xbox One versions, and the 2015 release of the much-anticipated PC version.
The incredible success of GTA Online (despite a rocky start) is likely to be blamed for the lack of single player content released for GTA 5 post-release, as Rockstar has doubled down on regular events and updates for its multiplayer open world. This is perhaps also the reason why the company has yet to reveal its next major project.