Crowds eagerly anticipate Grand Theft Auto V

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- Gamers lined up at stores around the Salt Lake Valley Monday night for the release of Grand Theft Auto V- one of the most polarizing and best-selling video game franchises of all time.

Roger Altizer, director of Game Design and Production at the University of Utah, says GTA V is more than just a video game.

"Grand Theft Auto is like the Citizen Kane for games,” Altizer said. “This is the title that everyone knows for good or bad in games."

A crowd of gamers gathered outside the Gamestop in West Valley for the midnight release party. The store rewarded customers with tons of GTA V swag, including: t-shirts and hoodies, bumper stickers and iPhone covers.

Altizer says gaming has morphed into a huge industry over the last five years, with sales often beating out the biggest films in Hollywood. In fact, GTA V cost more than $130 million to make, but analysts predict sales will top $1 billion in the first month.

"Grand Theft Auto V is a game that is so large, that it'll rank among the top media products of all time," Altizer said.