Grand Theft Auto V earns a record $800 million in day-one sales

(Credit: Rockstar Games)So maybe crime does pay.

Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games, announced Wednesday that their open-world opus Grand Theft Auto V raked in a staggering $800 million in its first 24 hours of availability. Not only is that a new high for both the GTA franchise and Take-Two, but it trounces previous record-holder Call of Duty Black Ops II, which managed to bring in $500 million in its first day of release last year.

Unsurprisingly, the suits were stoked.

“All of us at Take-Two are thrilled with the initial response to Grand Theft Auto V,” said Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “Once again, the team at Rockstar Games have outdone themselves, setting the entertainment industry’s new standard for creativity, innovation and excellence.”

Unofficially, the $800 million mark makes GTA V the biggest day-one earner ever across all entertainment media. To put the number in context, current weekend box-office champ “The Avengers” earned $200 million in its first two days (though to be fair, comparing a $10 movie ticket to a $60 game isn't exactly apples to apples).

The new record also puts added pressure on Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, which hopes to maintain its annual tradition of eclipsing day-one industry sales records. The next installment, Call of Duty: Ghosts, releases November 5.

GTA V is also likely to become the fastest game to earn $1 billion. Last year, Call of Duty: Black Ops II hit that mark in 15 days; at the current rate, GTA V will hit it during its first week.

Launched to long lines on Tuesday for the Xbox 360 and PS3, isn’t just blowing minds commercially. The game’s 98 Metacritic rating (Xbox 360 version) is the highest of the year, exceeding the likes of BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us.

The insane haul is great news for Rockstar, who reportedly spent $266 million creating and marketing the game over the past five years. Looks like that was a good investment after all.

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