Video: Grand Theft Auto V set to break records
Amazon has already sold out of the video game which was released at midnight
Gamestop has reported “high demand” for Grand Theft Auto V which went on sale in Ireland at midnight.
The game, which was one of the most eagerly-anticipated video game releases, is expected to smash sales records after going on sale worldwide today.
Mnay stores across the UK and Ireland opened their doors at midnight for the special launch of Grand Theft Auto V, which reportedly cost around €200 million to make and market - more than films such as Avatar.
Online retailer Amazon has already sold out of the game.
Experts estimate it could generate $1 billion during its first year on sale when gamers are predicted to snap up some 25 million copies — breaking current records.
It has received rave reviews from critics across the board who have labelled it “one of the very best video games ever made”.
Keza MacDonald, games editor at IGN.com, said: “Grand Theft Auto V is not only a preposterously enjoyable video game, but also an intelligent and sharp-tongued satire of contemporary America,” she added.
“It represents a refinement of everything that GTA IV brought to the table five years ago. It’s technically more accomplished in every conceivable way, but it’s also tremendously ambitious in its own right.
But the launch of the latest iteration in the Grand Theft Auto series has not gone as smoothly as planned.
The Scottish creator Rockstar has launched an investigation into whether copies of the game were dispatched days ahead of its official release.
Some gamers claimed to have received their copies as early as Friday following Amazon deliveries.
Edinburgh-based Rockstar said it was looking into how any copies of the game may have been released early.
“We are in the process of investigating early sales to determine how and why that is occurring,” a spokesman told the Games Industry International website.
In a message on its website, Amazon warned any orders placed after last Friday may not arrive until after today’s release date because of high demand.
Tom Butler, social media editor of gaming site IGN.com, said thousands of workers have taken the day off for the launch or plan on calling in sick.
“Grand Theft Auto V will be the biggest entertainment launch of the year and possibly all-time with levels of consumer anticipation outstripping Harry Potter and Twilight,” he said.
“With gamers queuing at midnight to be among the first to play and the developer boasting thousands of hours of game play, there’s no surprise that we’re likely to see an outbreak of GTA flu this September.”
The gaming site polled 10,995 readers to ask whether they would take time off work today when the GTA V goes on sale.
According to its findings, 5,059 readers (46 per cent) said they booked the day off as holiday.
Another 2,012 (19 per cent) said they would phone in claiming to be unwell while 3,884 (35 per cent) said they would wait to get their hands on the game.
The Grand Theft Auto series has accumulated sales of 135 million copies since its 1997 debut. GTA IV has reportedly sold more than 25 million copies since its 2008 release.