Grand Theft Auto franchise may have 'peaked,' according to analyst

While Take-Two has a number of solid properties, such as BioShock and Borderlands, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto is unquestionably its largest and most important franchise. However, sluggish sales of recent GTA efforts, from the handheld Chinatown Wars to the 360-exclusive DLC Episodes from Liberty City, have Broadpoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter worried about the future of Take-Two's flagship brand.

"Has the Grand Theft Auto franchise peaked? Given the strength of GTA IV in 2008, the question may seem misplaced, but our concern is that the very highly rated new GTA content for Xbox as well as PSP and DS did not perform up to expectations in 2009," Scahchter notes, while addressing potential criticisms to his claim. "Now, we very clearly understand that these do not represent 'true' new GTA titles. However, the fact is that these were compelling titles, attractively priced, and reasonably well-promoted, yet they fell relatively flat."

Considering well over ten million people purchased GTA IV, the lackluster sales for these spin-off efforts is even more evident. Does the GTA name no longer carry the weight it once did? Or, are gamers simply waiting for a game that doesn't take place in Liberty City?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.