While any and all GTA sales are good news for Rockstar and Take-Two, a little higher up the food chain Sony and Microsoft are fighting a war over which platform gained the most from the game's release. Stakes are high: no game this big has ever released on both platforms simultaneously, so whichever picked up the most sales (or even sales momentum) could be seen to have struck a mighty blow in the struggle for console dominance. Sony have been the first to claim "victory" in the initial stages of this battle of the platforms, issuing a press release today boasting of an increase in hardware sales, while also calling upon not merely their own chest-beating, but comment from GameStop and, strangely, commenting gun-for-hire Michael Pachter.
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 colours, 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.