GTA 5 Earns Rockstar £500 Million In 24 Hours

One of the most eagerly-anticipated video game releases has exceeded worldwide sales of 800 million US dollars (£496 million), its publisher has announced.

Grand Theft Auto V delivered the highest first day retail sales of any title sold by Take-Two Interactive Software, the parent company of the game's developer Rockstar.

Stores across the UK opened their doors at midnight on Tuesday for the special launch of the widely acclaimed game, which reportedly cost around £170 million to make and market - more than films such as Avatar.

Online retailer Amazon sold out of the game on -pre-orders alone.

Experts estimate it could generate far more than £1 billion during its first year on sale, with gamers predicted to snap up some 25 million copies - breaking current records.

Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two, said:

"All of us at Take-Two are thrilled with the initial response to Grand Theft Auto V.

"Once again, the team at Rockstar Games have outdone themselves, setting the entertainment industry's new standard for creativity, innovation and excellence.

"Beginning at midnight on Monday, consumers around the world gathered in anticipation to be among the first to experience the evolution of this remarkable series."

The Grand Theft Auto series has accumulated sales of 135 million copies since its 1997 debut. GTA IV has reportedly sold more than 25 million copies since its 2008 release.

The new game has received rave reviews from critics across the board who have labelled it "one of the very best video games ever made".

Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at financial spread betting firm ETX Capital, described GTA as a "British success story".

"The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cadbury's, Rolls-Royce... the list of some of the greatest British exports goes on and on," he said.

"But not many believed a sandbox violent crime thriller video game series, Grand Theft Auto by RockStar Games, would become one of the latest entrants on that list."

He predicted GTA V would follow the same blockbuster success of its predecessors in the series.

"Like it or not, GTA is a British success story as it has catapulted British game developers into the spotlight over the past decade," he said.

"It's also induced the growth of start-up game development companies in the UK who are looking to mimic the success of Rockstar."