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APIs: The Unsung Heroes of our Connected World

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What is an API?

APIs: The Unsung Heroes of our Connected World

Connected digital platforms improve our lives in many ways. We use social network profiles to log onto apps and websites, third-party payment systems while online shopping, and we share our activity data from devices like Fitbit. How do all these platforms work together so seamlessly?

It’s all done through a technology known as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

As today’s infographic from Raconteur demonstrates, thousands of APIs are allowing companies to work together and share data in powerful ways.

Here are the four main business models that use APIs:

Business ModelDescriptionExample Companies
API is the ProductThe API itself is the primary source of revenueAmazon Web Services, Skype
API Projects the ProductAllows partners and third-parties to integrateeBay, Spotify
API Promotes the ProductAdvertises your product, shares data to generate interestAmazon, Vimeo, Netflix
API Powers the ProductA channel to drive new data / content onto platformFacebook, YouTube, Twitter

How Do APIs Work?

An API is essentially a messenger that delivers a request to the provider you’re requesting it from, and then delivers the response back to you. Here are some of real-world examples:

Travel Sites – If you are using a travel site (e.g. Travelocity, Expedia), APIs are what allow that site to “talk to” airline databases to generate results to your query. Without an API, there would be no way for travel websites to aggregate flight and hotel quotes in real time.

Advertising – If you are a marketer, you are likely using a service to manage your campaigns in one place. Social platforms like Twitter have an API for ads that allows for integration between their platform and selected advertising solutions. This keeps marketers from having to log in to every single social website to manage their campaigns.

Apps – Say you open up a weather app on your iWatch. That app needs to get its information from a source, typically a website like weather.com. Apple could scrape information off the website, but APIs allow a more standardized, stable approach for requesting information. This way, weather.com can dictate the structure of information requests to facilitate the seamless flow of information.

Next time you’re cursing the weather forecast on your phone, remember the hero who fetched the information for you.

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Charting Grand Theft Auto: GTA’s Budget and Revenues

Dive into the GTA budget through the years, with GTA VI set to be the most expensive video game of all time.

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A cropped chart comparing the GTA budget and revenue across three game titles.

Charting Grand Theft Auto: GTA’s Budget and Revenues

Over 10 years since the launch of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V), the second most-sold video game in history, Rockstar Games has announced its sequel GTA VI will be “coming 2025.”

As the anticipation only grows for this next big entry in the franchise, we take a look at the GTA budget through the years. How much have the last two games cost to make, how much have they earned, and how do they compare with the latest entry?

Data for this visualization comes from Statista, TweakTown, and Twitch Metrics.

How Much Has GTA VI Cost to Make?

The GTA franchise has grown enormously in scale from humble beginnings as a top-down, 2D video game in 1997. Fifteen installments later, the upcoming release, GTA VI, is estimated to be the most expensive video game to be made yet.

Here’s a look at how much GTA VI and the last two major releases cost, and how much revenue they’ve earned as of August 2023.

YearTitleProduction Costs ($)Revenue ($)Copies Sold
2025 (est.)GTA VI$2B (rumored)N/AN/A
2013GTA V $265M$7.7B185M
2008GTA IV$100M$2B25M

In 2008, GTA IV cost around $100 million—already a budget that rivalled big Hollywood releases. However with 25 million copies sold, the game earned nearly $2 billion—a five-fold return on its production cost.

Five years later, GTA V (2013) cost more than $200 million to make—twice GTA IV’s budget. A decade after its release, GTA V has generated close to $8 billion, with hundreds of millions in annual revenue from subscriptions and in-game purchases—a model that its successor is sure to follow.

In fact, subscription fees and in-game purchases represented 78% of Take-Two Interactive’s (parent of GTA developer Rockstar Games) revenues in 2023.

Analysts estimate the to-be-released GTA VI’s costs at $2 billion, including marketing and other expenses. A massive open-world (set in the Miami-inspired “Vice City”), cutting edge graphics, and a reportedly brand-new game engine are all reasons for the game’s outsized budget.

For comparison, the current most expensive games to have been made include Red Dead Redemption 2 (also by Rockstar) and Star Citizen, both reportedly with a $500 million budget.

Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive shares are up more than 50% for the year.

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