Grand Theft Auto V was bought multiple times by almost half of its install base, according to data farmed from gaming profile service PlayTracker. Some 45% of all GTA V owners bought the game more than once, and an estimated 37.3% of the total number of copies sold were to people who’d already bought GTA 5 before.

Based upon the 95 million confirmed copies of GTA V that have been sold, and with PlayTracker taking an average of $40 per copy, that equates to $1.4 billion in revenue from users buying multiple copies. That’s five times GTA 5’s entire development and marketing budget spent by users wanting to play the game on multiple platforms.

Amazingly, of the 37.3% of duplicate copies of Grand Theft Auto V sold, just 28.5% of this figure was by double-dippers. 7.6% of GTA 5 owners using PlayTracker triple-dipped, while the remaining 1.2% bought the game on four, sometimes even five platforms! This figure falls outside the margin of error, but potentially one in 500 GTA V players have bought the game on every platform the game was released. Which is, well, bizarre really.

The figures are far, far higher than we’d anticipated, although it comes with some major caveats. This information is based upon PlayTracker’s cross-platform owner data and has a margin of error of 2%.

Not only does this provide some insight into double dipping culture, but it’s also an enormous red flag as to why we haven’t heard a whisper about Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC just yet. While we have our reservations about the data (more on that later), even if the numbers are wildly out it appears as if hundreds of millions of dollars have been made by releasing GTA V on multiple platforms, split across multiple years and generations. It is in Rockstar’s best interests to get fans to buy RDR2 right now before revealing a PC version, and subsequently encouraging those fans to pick up the game yet again.

Interestingly, Steam makes up the second largest platform for GTA 5 sales with 21% of the sales, sitting just behind the Xbox 360 which was the market leader with 27% of the sales. It’s here that we spot the greatest potential for erroneous data though. PlayTracker is a service used to link various platforms and allows users to manage achievement unlocks and play times across several devices and service. There’s going to be a certain segment of the market more likely to actively use a service like this and contribute to the data though, which is why I believe we see the Xbox 360 with such a huge share of the market. Xbox owners are surely more inclined to hunt for achievements as that’s where the initiative started. Steam achievements and PSN trophies feel like an afterthought in comparison.

The data we have available shows GTA V actually sold far more copies on PS3 and PS4 than it did on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It’s kind of obvious but GTA has been synonymous with the PlayStation brand since GTA 3, and it’s where the lion’s shares of the sales are going to be. That throws some serious shade on these numbers being touted by PlayTracker but they can only give us the data it has in its possession, which indicates a large proportion of users double and even triple-dipping on Rockstar’s bestselling game.

For this reason, I believe the numbers are way out, but it's certainly interesting to see just how high a proportion of PlayTracker users have bought multiple copies of GTA 5.

Did you double-dip on GTA 5? Do you think this is the main reason why Red Dead Redemption 2 for PC hasn't been announced yet? Let us know!