GTA IV’s “massive” size may put punters off DLC, says analyst

Monday, 7th December 2009 18:54 GMT By Patrick Garratt


GTA IV may be simply too large to succesfully carry DLC, Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter’s told VG247, as the majority of owners never actually finish the main game.

Pachter was talking in response to comments made earlier by AmTech analyst Ben Schachter (via Industrygamers and Joystiq), who expressed “concern” about the state of the GTA franchise in general thanks to The Lost and Damned, Gay Tony and other related games failing to match expectation.

“Ben’s right that the DLC disappointed, but I suspect that the reason is that GTA games are so massive that a substantial majority of the GTA audience hasn’t finished the core game, so they don’t feel especially compelled to buy the DLC,” Pachter said.

“GTA IV was at least a 50 hour game (for me, probably more like 100 hours), in contrast to the typical Call of Duty, which is a 6-10 hour game. Almost anyone who bought CoD finished it, and if they liked it (that’s a high percentage), they were interested in DLC. On the other hand, my guess is that fewer than 20% of GTA owners finished the game (100% of VG247 readers, of course), so fewer were interested in DLC.

“I think that is a fair assessment, and don’t think that the slow pace of DLC sales reflects poor performance for the franchise.”

They’re watching, kids. And they know you’re hardcore. No further GTA games are public at this point.



  1. Goliath

    I haven’t finished GTAIV. Like most open world games it became incredibly repetitive and dragged out as I approached the end. I will buy Episodes from Liberty City when I do complete the game however.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Cort

    I lasted an hour on this crap.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. McLovin85

    Once again he’s talking out of his ass.
    Granted i reckon not many people finished absolutely everything that one can do in the game, but i’m pretty sure that the majority of people that bought the game would have finished the main storyline.
    He needs to also define what he means by ‘completing the game’ because to complete any game to 100% is always going to be time consuming and knackering therefore not everyone will have the time to do that.

    You know what….i’m actually going to give ‘The Shatner Award’ to Mr. Michael Pachter. I’ll be sending that vote off soon. :)

    #3 5 years ago
  4. SlayerGT

    Maybe the DLC targeted the wrong audience =)

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Bulk Slash

    That’s an interesting thought from Pachter. Personally though I think people just didn’t like GTAIV enough to want to pay to play more of it. Compared to previous entries in the series it wasn’t as funny and there wasn’t much variety in the missions (they usually just consisted of driving somewhere and shooting someone).

    I thought Saint’s Row 2 was a much more fun game by comparison. I’ve been trying to play through The Lost and Damned and I’m just finding it a bit too tedious to bother with. Every time a new game arrives in the post, TLAD just goes to the bottom of the pile. Gay Tony sounds like it’s going back to the more fun aspects of the older GTAs but I haven’t started that one yet.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Goliath

    @ McLovin85

    Unfortunately, I’ll have to disagree with you. This time I actually think Pachter is spot on. Everyone loves GTA but few ever finish the games. With GTAIV, the game requires you to complete a series of missions to progress. Most of which a terribly repetitive and boring.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. SlayerGT

    What about that DLC for Oblivion you fucking jackass. This guy makes me laugh. I second that vote McLovin.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Dralen

    Well, I would have been really dissapointed if this was any shorter than it was.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. DaMan

    +1 SlayerGT :).

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Whizzo

    Achievement records give an interesting record of people completing games as this Gamasutra article says. Not everyone who bought CoD4 ever completed it (which isn’t a particularly long game) and considering the time differential GTA IV actually does pretty well in just under 30%.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. MushroomStamp

    Me neither.. I got about 80% with GTA4 and quite simply was bored and thought the multi-player was COMPLETE garbage.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Johnny Cullen

    I’m proper hardcoar’ when it comes to GTA IV.

    I have two copies for the PS3 and 360, with both pieces of DLC downloaded. With a copy of Episodes from Liberty City here for review from Rockstar.

    Then again, if I had known they’d send me EfLC, I’d have just not bothered downloading Gay Tony.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Jadeskye


    Anyone know that bald guy from the hitman games? >_>

    #13 5 years ago
  14. McLovin85


    I guess it can get a bit repetitive but it’s GTA and i assumed people knew what they were getting themselves into when purchasing the game. I don’t think i’ve bought a single game that i haven’t finished but maybe that’s just me.


    I’m truly shocked by those numbers tbh. Some of them i can understand like COD being heavily multiplayer focused. i figured GTA was mainly a single player focused game so people would be spending time on that; clearly i was wrong.
    My only gripe with that article is that they took the ‘Top 13 Xbox Live games’ so understandably they would heavily favour games with a good multiplayer experience, therefore resulting in people preferring to play the multiplayer side of the game and focus less on single player.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Anders

    @SlayerGT: On the other hand, how well did Shivering Isles really do? Ignoring the sales from the GotY-version.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Goliath

    I think because it’s Pachter it’s easy to dismiss his comments but to be quite honest, I don’t thing the majority of gamers who’ve bought GTA have finished the games. The only one I ever finished was San Andreas and it took me near a year to complete. GTA can be repetitive but a few months go by and you return to the game and you’re reminded why you love the franchise; It gives you immense freedom. I think you’ll see Episodes from Liberty City do sell well when it’s all said a done. I just hope Take Two and Rockstar don’t abandon the package looking towards GTA5. As months go by consumers need to be reminded that it’s on store shelves and it’s GTA.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. SlayerGT

    Good point Anders. I really dont know. But on the 360 they came out with many small packs. So they must have done well enough. Another good one is Fallout. People ate that shit up.

    Goliath I feel you, about going back to GTA’s after completing the story to fool around and tackle more side stuff. I think the marketing fouled up. If the DLC had been marketed more as new games (which would have been hard considering the city was the same) or the price would have been cheaper (again hard cause MS needed to make up as much of that 50 mil back) It might have done better. I would think that it being on a shelf would help.

    Personally, I still feel like it’s the audience.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. The_Deleted

    How many games does anyone ever finish, really?
    GTAIV was bought into by a lot of people who wanted the fun and variety of previous games. What they got was a dour, straight-faced story about a protagonist who wanted a past life of war by going around murdering people in his adopted country. There were no side missions, no rampages, no races. In fact nothing that made SA, VC or III what they were.
    Can you imagine getting through SA without the distractions?

    #18 5 years ago
  19. SlayerGT

    Which GTA you playing Deleted? =)

    #19 5 years ago
  20. NiceFellow

    I suspect he has a point. I figure that the most popular DLC is mainly MP focused, map packs and the like. Heck, plenty of people but CoD4 and the like and never even touch the SP, but will buy the MP DLC right away.

    With something like GTAIV I do believe the number of people up for SP DLC is a tiny fraction of the people who bought it say the percentage of MW2 buyers who#ll pick up MP DLC.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. SlayerGT

    Its possible. But again, there are games that have no MP like Fallout that sell DLC well. Not to mention the two episodes have new MP content. You think if the DLC were cheaper or perhaps the MP content could be bought independently would make a difference? GTA4 is always in the top 10 games played on live. Usually in the top 5.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. Uncontested

    No the problem is everyone returned their GTA IV into gamestop after they realized it wasnt as fun as San Andreas. Naming your DLC “Gay Tony” didn’t help any either. (Argue all you want you KNOW a lot of people didnt buy it because of that)

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Mike

    You mean you didn’t ;)

    #23 5 years ago
  24. SlayerGT

    Like I said before, wrong audience =)

    #24 5 years ago
  25. hitnrun

    Well, duh. I think the only GTA anyone finished this decade was Vice City, a game where they momentarily came to their senses and condensed a main quest that didn’t rival its Squaresoft contemporaries in length.

    And what’s the one thing that everyone’s copies of GTA has plenty of? Unfinished side quests. As Maddox once put it, that’s like trying to sell hookers in a vagina storm.

    Oblivion is an interesting comparison. Like you said, different audience. I can’t exactly put my finger on the difference, but I know there is one. I’m thinking it’s a legitimacy and novelty issue; the feeling of a new adventure vs another slab of the same sidequests available in great numbers in every GTA.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Dannybuoy

    For once I agree with the crystal ball fondling joker. Never finished GTA 4. Too long and got a bit dull for me (and that was with using the cell phone cheat). I’d never buy DLC for this game as I feel guilty enough that I still have a large chunk of the main game to finish first. I’m looking forward to the birth of baby next summer when I know I’ll have many nights where I’ll have plenty of time to work through all my unfinished games ;-)

    #26 5 years ago
  27. sickpuppysoftware

    I haven’t bought the DLC but then maybe if they hadn’t tied it to a machine I didn’t own then it might well have.

    I went back to the game to try and finish it a few weeks ago. Looking at gamefaqs I only have two missions left to do but the huge amount of ferrying I’m having to do on each retry means I’ve rage-quit yet again. Shame as I was loving the city all over again.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. mojo

    i can tell u another reason why the addons underperfomed: They only released them on one platform..
    i liked all the gta games (besides the 2nd), some more, some less, but at the end of the day theys all have provided much fun to me and i would also gladly buy both gta iv add ons if they would be available, but well they are not..

    in my eyes its clear what to do with the dlc..

    i anyway dont see the point in having a gta dlc as exclusive.. i mean the games are fun, but a simple addon wount make me buy a entire console -.-

    #28 5 years ago
  29. WizardWeb

    I never finished GTAIV. I got most of the way through, then the trophies update was introduced so I started again, but couldn’t be bothered after a while.

    I like causing mayhem, I spend most time just driving round doing that. I like a lot of the missions too, but the fact you’re supposed to keep going back and keeping up the friendships, stopped the progress for me. like someone tugging on your sleeve all the time, saying “Remember me?” it was just too annoying. Had a bit of fun with the multi-player though.

    San Andreas was way more fun – aside from the eating, girlfriend and working out nonsense. Apart from the graphics and mechanics of the game, GTAIV wasn’t a forward step in terms of gameplay.

    #29 5 years ago
  30. woodyrulesok

    I finished the main story but wasn’t very interested in completing everything, most of the small side projects like stunt jumps don’t interest me. The worse thing was definitely the relationships, “hey cousin want to go to a titty bar?” no, fuck off, stop calling me.

    #30 5 years ago
  31. Blerk

    GTAIV is the only GTA I’ve actually finished. The closest I ever got before was GTAIII, which I made the final mission on (and never actually completed it).

    #31 5 years ago

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