5 games in the GTA series that weren’t commercial hits
For every successful GTA game, there’s also one that didn’t sell so well.
With over a dozen GTA titles in the series, not every single one of them can be a massive commercial success. Some of these titles have to rank lower than others, just by virtue of how not every single
GTA game can sell as well as one another. Unfortunately, some of these titles have sold poorly because of how different they are compared to the successful titles of the franchise.
A lot of these numbers are outdated by a decade or so, but they’re unlikely to change so drastically given how old some of these GTA titles are. It should be noted that a game like GTA London 1969 won’t be on this list as no verifiable data could be found on it (although it would likely be near the top alongside GTA London 1961).
The top five GTA games that sold poorly (5 games in the GTA series)
- 1 The top five GTA games that sold poorly (5 games in the GTA series)
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- 3 #4 – GTA 1 (3 million+ copies)
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#1 – GTA Advance (0.24 million+ copies sold as of May 2021)
Finding certain numbers on GTA Advance’s copies sold is quite difficult, so 0.24 million copies is likely a low-ball estimate. Still, given GTA Chinatown Wars did quite poorly, it would be plausible that a worse-received title like GTA Advance would do so much worse. (5 games in the GTA series)
The game is rated incredibly poorly by the series’ standards, with a Metacritic rating of 68/100. Considering several of the other games in the series tend to score in the 80s to high 90s range, a meager 68 is indicative of how lw in quality this game is by comparison.
GTA Advance has only been officially released on the Game Boy Advance, making it the GTA game that has appeared on the fewest number of platforms. Given how that console hasn’t been relevant in over a decade, it’s unlikely that this game will ever be one of the worst-selling GTA titles of all time.
#2 – GTA Chinatown Wars (1.2 million+ copies sold as of November 2013) (5 games in the GTA series)
GTA Chinatown Wars is a highly underrated game in terms of its gameplay, but it’s understandable why Rockstar considered its sales a huge disappointment. Even though the writing is top-notch, the core gameplay deviates quite a bit from the series most GTA fans are familiar with.
For starters, it’s a return to the 2D style of gameplay seen in the earliest titles of the series. Although the game was well-received (being ranked in the low 90s range on Metacritic) and won a few awards, this simple difference is enough to deter most casual GTA fans from trying out the game.
It also didn’t help that it was released on the highly successful Nintendo DS, a platform that didn’t have much crossover appeal with Rockstar’s core audience. The game is also available on mobile devices, so it likely sold more copies than what’s indicated above.
#3 – GTA 2 (2 million+ copies)
GTA 2 is a fun game, but it didn’t change the GTA formula that much to sell more copies than its predecessor. Unlike its predecessor, there isn’t much of a reason for modern GTA fans to check it out, as it’s not the game that started it all, nor did it change the franchise in a meaningful way.
That said, it still sold well, given the circumstances. It was well-received for its time, and it is arguably better than GTA 1 in terms of the core gameplay. Like GTA 1, GTA 2 is available on several platforms, including for free on PC through Rockstar’s official website.
#4 – GTA 1 (3 million+ copies)
The game that started it all did pretty well, all things considered. Despite being one of the worst-selling GTA titles out there, GTA 1 introduced the Grand Theft Auto series to millions of fans. It is seen from a top-down perspective, rather than the 3D style fans are used to now, but it was well-liked for its time.
#5 – GTA 4: Episodes from Liberty City (3 million+ copies)
As the Grand Theft Auto series wasn’t particularly well-known at the time, this game would never sell as well as later entries for this reason alone. Of course, it won’t sell too many more copies these days unless a GTA fan is curious about the origins of this game.
Expansion packs never sell as much as the original game, so it isn’t surprising to see the Episodes from Liberty City expansion pack sell far worse than GTA 4. Episodes from Liberty City do include two brand new storylines, but it still largely uses the same characters and maps as the base game, so it isn’t an essential purchase.
It is also worth noting that this expansion pack is a lot shorter than GTA 4’s base game. Many casual gamers will likely play the base game and never consider Episodes from Liberty City, especially since they might not want to pay extra for something that’s just slightly different from GTA 4.
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