I’m pretty sure there’s a mistake here. Rockstar’s claiming Grand Theft Auto V — my review is here — was the best-selling game of 2013, but that can’t be right, because consoles are dead: subverted by the smartphone-tablet tsunami.
I mean, the sandbox crime-spree for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 didn’t launch until September 2013, so we’re talking just three-and-a-half months to rack up 32.5 million copies sold. That’s impossible, right? I mean sure, we all knew it’d break launch sales records, and sure enough, it cleared over $1 billion in three days (the next-biggest seller, revenue-wise, is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which took over two weeks to hit that figure), claiming the sales record in that timeframe for any form of entertainment, video game or otherwise.
But clinching the hallowed “best-selling video game of 2013” chalice, both by revenue and units sold? Wasn’t that Candy Crush Saga? Maybe Temple Run 2? No? Not Minecraft: Pocket Edition or Angry Birds: Star Wars?
What’s going on here? Did we sideslip in space-time? Is this some goofy alter-verse where prognosticators who keep predicting console atrophy are wildly off? Analysts cut from the same cloth as those now scolding Nintendo for its stubborn insistence on treating games as holistic experiences, design-wise?
In Rockstar’s just-released third quarter financial report, the company sources its “best-selling video game of 2013” claim to retail sales tracker NPD. I haven’t double-checked that claim with NPD, so who knows — maybe Rockstar’s fibbing. If it knows what’s good for it — since we all know no one’s buying the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One — it’ll own up to any funny business, then get busy working on its first mobile Candy Crush clone.