UPDATE 1-Take Two's GTA V posts $800 mln in first-day sales
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software Inc racked up $800 million in first-day retail sales of Grand Theft Auto V, the fifth installment of the lucrative franchise that went on sale around the world on Tuesday.
The sales figure marked a first-day record for the Grand Theft Auto series in which players freely roam, mainly via automobiles, in a make-believe gameworld based on real-life locations such as Los Angeles.
Sales of $800 million would translate to 13 million to 14 million units of the game sold, according to analysts.
"The last major Grand Theft Auto title sold just under 13 million in the course of the year. This did that in a day," said Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research. The sales beat his expectations.
Last year, Activision Blizzard Inc's "Call Of Duty: Black Ops II" raked in $500 million on its first day.
Other blockbuster titles from top-selling franchises like Activision's "Call of Duty" shooter and Nintendo's "Mario" games sell more than 20 million copies in a year, Ernst added.
"We're looking for 23 million units of games sold by March 2014 and we won't change that, but $800 million in the first day is phenomenal," said Mike Hickey, an analyst at the Benchmark Company.
Game fans flocked to retail stores around the world at midnight before the game's release on Tuesday. Analysts had estimated that over 7 million units had already been pre-ordered before the game's release.
Take-Two shares reached $17.69 on Wednesday before closing up 1.2 percent at $17.20.