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Grand Theft Auto franchise has shipped 125 million units

Grand Theft Auto 5 is sure to add to the tally, but Take Two has revealed a significant new milestone for the franchise to date, which the publisher credits to the careful management of franchise fatigue.

CEO Strauss Zelnick told Gamespot the franchise's shipments to date have reached 125 million.

It's a significant jump on the September 2011 announced figure of 114 million, as no major releases have been made in the interim, suggesting demand for older titles is still high. A company representative said 2008's Grand Theft Auto 4 alone accounts for 25 million units.

So why is Grand Theft Auto so perennially popular? Zelnick said it's because the series isn't annualised. Although he had nothing but praise for the industry's titan, Call of Duty, describing it as a "quality product", Zelnick said Take Two won't gamble on yearly releases.

"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise," he said.

Zelnick said Black Ops 2 hasn't sold as well as Modern Warfare 3, which he credits to fans going cold on the series.

"That's never been the case with one of ours. Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that's proven to be the case. IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall," he concluded.

GTA 5 is due on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in northern spring 2013.

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