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Analysts: GTA V to launch before summer 2012, will sell 20 million+

Analysts have Grand Theft Auto V pegged for a short by PR cycle, but a long string of numbers before the word "sales".

"They want to steal everyone's attention, and will do so with a launch in front of E3," Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter told IndustryGamers.

"I would say they’re within six months of release. If they’re ready in June 2012, they’ll do it," he reiterated to GameInformer.

Mike Hickey, of National Alliance Capital markets, agreed.

"We believe Rockstar Games is modeling a 4 to 6 month marketing window for their upcoming GTA V release, suggesting a Summer '12 launch period," he said.

"Specifically, we suspect GTA V will ship in May, 2012."

Analysts seem to believe getting all eyes on itself before the summer release drought is an excellent strategy.

"If GTA V gets mid-90 reviews, it’ll likely do 20-25 million in the first year. You have an install base two times [what it was] when GTA IV came out, and GTA 4 did 12 million in the first six months," Pachter said.

EEDAR's Jesse Divnich went further, calling out the big guns.

"Grand Theft Auto V should sell well over 24 million units worldwide in its first year. Given the anticipation for the release, Grand Theft Auto V has the potential to shatter first day and first week sales records that are currently held by Call of Duty: Black Ops," he predicted.

"I expect GTA V to at easily exceed GTA IV 22M units sales. Assuming Take-Two can ship sufficient quantities (and no reason to doubt they will) GTA V's first day/first week revenue is likely to top GTA IV's," M2 Research's Billy Pidgeon concurred.

Hickey was less confident.

"We expect GTA V from Rockstar Games will sell-in +16.25 million units, for an estimated $746 million in sales for the Company’s fiscal ’13 operating period," he hazarded.

Rockstar delivered the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V overnight, confirming a San Andreas setting.

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