Take Two: Grand Theft Auto Episodes Market Smaller Than Thought

The Microsoft Xbox-exclusive episodic expansions to Grand Theft Auto IV received positive reviews (including from us), but one of the heads of GTA publisher Take-Two Interactive indicated yesterday some disappointment with their performance.

"Both we and Microsoft believe there was a big market for GTA IV episodic content," company CEO Ben Feder said during a call with investors on Thursday. "And some factors have affected their performance. Both were released significantly after the core unit … GTA IV, which was launched in April of 2008 and therefore weren't able to leverage GTA IV's initial marketing campaign and initial launch fervour."

The Rockstar-developed episodes, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, were released in February and October of 2009, respectively.

Take-Two and Rockstar also released the episodes in October on a standalone disc entitled Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City. Sales figures have not been publicly announced for the Xbox-only disc, though Wedbush Morgan Securites analysts Michael Pachter recently pegged the sales for the disc in its first month on the market at around 100,000 units in the US, a far cry from the millions of copies sold of GTA IV.

"Episodes From Liberty City seems to have been most appealing to those who have finished GTA IV and wanted more story and gameplay," Feder said. "Which is a smaller market than initially expected. Despite the dour analysis, Feder did praise the episodes' critical acclaim and said they were "profitable contributors to the company, so we're pleased with them."

He said he thinks the episodes will do fine long-term. "There's very little precedent for this type of episodic content at the price point that we offered it. And so we're confident that these titles will continue to have a long life, just as we've seen a long life from all of our other prior GTA releases."


    No interest from me because GTAIV turned me off GTA games forever. The series has completely lost the plot, and I had to turn to Saints Row to see that sandbox games could be FUN again...

      Ironically, it found the plot. A more serious one, which was delivered in a more serious environment. The Ballad of Gay Tony addresses this, it's a healthy injection of over the top ridiculousness(ness).. but for the market it seems it's too little, too late.

    I liked the new approach to GTA4. Making things more realistic and changing the driving style was great. Saints Row is good for running and gunning, but the driving in both games is the worst i've played. I've played PS1 games that had better driving in it. That bit alone most likely will stop me from playing another Saints Row if they keep it the same.

    How did they do on PS3 and PC?

    Oh, wait...


    Maybe if they release these on the pc and Ps3 they might actually sell these

    Ditto, I bought the game for PC, so no DLC = unhappy gamer.

    Or maybe people don't want to play in the same city over and over again.

    Perhaps it wasn't money well spent on MS part. $50 million they say for two DLC. However, weren't they bragging that the first DLC broke records and revenue first week on XBL when released.

    The problem was, you got way more than your moneys worth. That is by no means a bad thing. They spent too much time developing the things and like this article suggests, released too far away from the release. GTA cooled down and wasn't what everyone was playing. DLC is meant to help that issue but the first should have been released sooner and then Gay Tony released at least 3 months ago even earlier.

    HINT: If a game is released for three platforms, release downloadable content for all three platforms to MAXIMISE PROFIT.

    A lot of 360 owners I know didn't like GTAIV because it had a storyline. They all traded it in to get the next Halo game.

      +1 on the second comment!

    I think they are on the tad expensive side as well. At 1600 MS points I have to think hard about the value of the purchase. At 800 points it becomes a no brainer.

    Serves Take-Two right - What did they expect when they released to >1/3 of the market?

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