Grand Theft Auto 5 will sell 18 million units in Take-Two's fiscal year, which runs April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014, Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia has forecast.
Sales of this magnitude would make over $230 million in operating profit.
Bhatia's "hypothetical profitability model" states a GTA 5 development cost of $137.5 million, which is based on a five-year project using a team of 250 people. Add to this marketing costs of between $69 million and $109.3 million.
Even selling only 15 million copies would see Take-Two generating more than $193.6 million in operating profit from the game in its fiscal year.
Sales in excess of 18 million – in the region of 25 million copies – would require increased marketing costs, but in turn would drive operating profit of $390.8 million.
Bhatia expects GTA 5 to be the biggest selling title of the year, with Activision's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4" the only title with a chance of shifting more copies.
Regarding the threat of next generation systems, Bhatia added: "This is a long-awaited title that consumers are unlikely to pass up and we remain bullish on our outlook for this title and for the company."
GTA 5 will be released September 17, four months later than Rockstar had intended.
Source: Gamesindustry International