Everybody's favourite games industry analyst Michael Pachter has said Grand Theft Auto's reign as king of the mainstream franchises has been toppled by Activision's Call of Duty - but it may make a comeback.
"Call of Duty is bigger, and GTA will not maintain its position as the world's biggest mainstream franchise," Pachter told IndustryGamers recently.
GTA IV caused such a fever pitch that ravenous fans would bring gaming sites grinding to a halt with the release of each trailer. But since then, Activision's yearly first-person shooter series has sold in droves, breaking sales records as it goes.
"Eventually, Call of Duty may suffer from fatigue, and GTA could keep chugging along," added Pachter, "but it will be 8 years before we can make that call."
He has a point; Activision has seen great success with its aggressive annual releases which seem to keep getting bigger each year - but is an approach that could ultimately exhaust the series' appeal more rapidly than gaming's other major franchises (although EA Sports may beg to differ).
On the flipside, Rockstar takes its merry time with GTA, letting fans' anticipation build and ensuring for bigger evolutional jumps between sequels. Take-Two recently confirmed that it's shipped a massive 114 million units in the GTA series since the release of the first game on PSone.
The yet-to-be-unveiled GTA V is expected to be released in late 2012.