Grand Theft Auto IV's first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date.
Well, sure. I don't want to downplay the significance of GTA's success, because those numbers are ridiculous. But it's not really an apples-to-apples comparison. A video game costs almost ten times as much as a movie ticket. When a game grosses $500 million, that's not the same amount of popular success as a movie that grosses the same amount. The movie had to sell significantly more tickets.
Look at it this way: At $60 a pop, you're looking at approximately 8,333,333 units of Grand Theft Auto sold. That's not counting the more expensive collector's editions. Assuming an average ticket price of $6.88 (which seems really low to me), the same number of movie tickets would sell for just over $57 million.
Iron Man crested $102 million in its opening weekend (clearly, Grand Theft Auto did not impact its performance). Still using that average ticket price, that's about 14.8 million tickets. In other words, almost twice as many people saw the movie in three days than bought the game in one week.
Then again, $60 is a much higher barrier to entry than $6.88. It's asking more of a consumer to buy a game than to buy a movie ticket. By that standard, GTA's performance is even more impressive. Even so, it doesn't represent a cultural penetration that rivals that of a blockbuster movie. We're not there yet.