GTA IV drove PS3 hardware sales, says Sony, Microsoft bites back

By Patrick Garratt, Friday, 2 May 2008 07:55 GMT

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Sony and Microsoft are already involved in a tussle over “who’s best” when it comes to GTA IV sales as related to their hardware, with Sony issuing a press release last night that said brand loyalty was driving PS3 sales.

“Grand Theft Auto fans who love the game grew up on PlayStation and we believe that rich heritage will be a deciding factor for many gamers at retail,” said US PSN boss Peter Dille. “This enthusiasm for GTA IV, combined with the excitement behind Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, and Resistance 2 will further drive PS3 hardware sales.”

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter concurred.

“I think brand loyalty is going to kick in for Sony, starting today,” he said in the same statement, which you can see after the link.

“There is a huge installed base of loyal PlayStation 2 owners who have been looking for a reason to upgrade, and they have strong previous ties to the Grand Theft Auto franchise on PlayStation platforms. Add to that a number of other big exclusive games for PS3, including Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, and SOCOM: Confrontation, to name a few, and it seems like Sony’s in a great position right now.”

Microsoft wasn’t having any of it, however.

“What we’ve heard anecdotally from our retail partners is that the Xbox 360 version of the game is outselling the PS3 version by a margin of two-to-one,” said Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live told Next-Gen last night.

“That mirrors what we saw with pre-orders, but it continues to hold true at retail, at least for the first couple of days. It’s a great sign.”

Sony has apparently already responded to Greenberg’s comments, saying they don’t “add up”.

Greenberg was first off the mark in the war on words surrounding the game, giving Reuters on interview early yesterday saying that he expects everyone that buys GTA IV on 360 will play it on Live.

This will probably get worse before it gets better. Thanks to Kotaku for the press release.

Following its highly anticipated release on April 29, 2008, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) today announced that, as expected, the demand for Grand Theft Auto IV drove sales of the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) entertainment system within the first 24 hours, continuing the strong legacy of the franchise on PlayStation® platforms.

“From our position, the launch of GTA IV has been tremendous in driving traffic to our stores, as well as providing a vigorous lift in PS3 console sales over this time last week. We attribute the growth to a huge fan base of PS2 owners who see this title as the trigger for the PS3 upgrade they’ve been planning,” said Bob McKenzie, Senior Vice President, Merchandising, GameStop Corp.

For more than a decade, Grand Theft Auto has been closely aligned with the PlayStation brand, and previous GTA titles have sold 30 million copies in the United States alone, according to the market research firm NPD Group.

“I think brand loyalty is going to kick in for Sony, starting today,” said Wedbush Morgan industry analyst Michael Pachter. “There is a huge installed base of loyal PlayStation 2 owners who have been looking for a reason to upgrade, and they have strong previous ties to the Grand Theft Auto franchise on PlayStation platforms. Add to that a number of other big exclusive games for PS3, including Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, and SOCOM: Confrontation, to name a few, and it seems like Sony’s in a great position right now.”

IGN.com, which scored the game a perfect “10”, wrote, “For those wanting to know which version looks better, the edge goes to the PS3. The textures and framerate are comparable, but the PS3 has far less pop-in. The 360 has richer colors, but the PS3 has better anti-aliasing making it look a little cleaner.”

“Grand Theft Auto fans who love the game grew up on PlayStation and we believe that rich heritage will be a deciding factor for many gamers at retail,” said Peter Dille, Senior Vice President, Marketing & PLAYSTATION Network. “This enthusiasm for GTA IV, combined with the excitement behind Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, and Resistance 2 will further drive PS3 hardware sales.”

The launch of Grand Theft Auto IV is the second blockbuster release for PS3 in April and follows the April 15 debut of Gran Tursimo™ 5 Prologue, the fifth installment of the world’s best-selling racing franchise and an intense precursor to Gran Turismo™ 5.

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