Tetris. Wii Sports. Minecraft. What do these games have in common? It’s not that their upcoming movie adaptations are gonna be barf. (And I know a Wii Sports movie hasn’t been announced yet, but Nintendo’s making movies now. It’s gonna happen.) No, Tetris, Wii Sports, and Minecraft are the top three best-selling games of all time. And they’re all truly great representations of what video games can be — fun, family-friendly experiences universally beloved by anyone who plays them. Grandma can feel good picking up any one of them for even her extra sensitive grandkids.
But after an earnings call yesterday, publisher Take Two Interactive has revealed that its mammoth hit Grand Theft Auto 5 has sold 65 million units since its release in 2013. That’s a mere five million away from the 70 million copies Minecraft‘s sold. That means GTA 5 is within striking distance of the all-time top three.
Minecraft better make some moves if it wants to stay in the top three. And a Super Mario pack’s not gonna do it — Mario’s too nice. If GTA 5 is going to be kept at bay, Minecraft will have to play by its rules. That means it needs to add more violence, more swearing, and more cynicism. Grand Theft Auto 5 makes fun of some of our culture’s easiest targets, from Republicans to folks who do yoga. Will Minecraft be able to do the same?
But let’s think about this for a second — in just two and a half years, Grand Theft Auto is about to surpass Minecraft. MINECRAFT! Have you met a single child under 12 in the last seven years who doesn’t play at least six hours of Minecraft a day? And it’s about to be outsold by Grand Theft Auto 5?! I’ll be honest, I am afraid for the next generation of kids who stretch their imaginations to think not about different things to build in colorful 8-bit worlds and instead to figure out new ways to murder hookers.
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