Editorial: Industry Effects from the GTA IV Delay
To some game companies, Take-Two’s delay wasn’t so much a silver lining as it was a sunny day. Although, Sony might still have an umbrella in mind.
The effects for Take-Two were immediate: its stocks went down. But according to Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, other stocks have gone up. The shift in focus for the end of the year might have been just what other publishers were looking for.
“GTA was set to be another major blockbuster coming out right after Halo 3,” the WSJ article reads. “In short, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), THQ Interactive (NASDAQ:THQI), and Activsion (NASDAQ:ATVI) may have just gotten one monkey off their backs.”
Maybe, but there’s a huge difference between an on-line multiplayer-driven third person shooter and a solo plot-driven third person shooter, so much so that one probably wouldn’t have made for much competition with the other. Still, there are those poor souls out there who end up with only enough money in their video game budget to buy only one game per month. If we’re talking about that market share, then yes, it’s up for grabs. I would go for Halo-3, but that’s just because of it’s replay value, which is sky high.
Other than Halo 3, CVG named some titles which may have very well taken the place of GTA IV on many Christmas lists, like Bioshock, Army of Two, Lair, Haze, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed, Heavenly Sword. Lair even gets a another chance at being the most promising starter for the PlayStation 3. Obviously not all of us have the budget for seven games in one month, or even three months, so these others definitely have a chance at making more of an impact in the market with the withdrawal of GTA IV during their release period.
But no one can ignore the PS3 itself as being affected by this delay. What the PS3 has going for it right now is a lineup of great titles which will inevitably show off its awesome hardware, but how long are people going to wait for the draw? Evan Wilson, analyst for Pacific Crest Securities, told the New York Times it was something dire for Sony.
â€œThis is very bad for Sony and its ability to sell PlayStation hardware,â€ he said in an article on Friday. Not only that, but it will also create some gains for the Wii, which wasn’t getting its own release of GTA IV. Sony, of course, denied there was anything wrong.
â€œNo single game makes or breaks any PlayStation platform,â€ Dave Karraker, a spokesman for Sony, said in the article. â€œNaturally, all of the hardware manufacturers would love to have Grand Theft Auto IV released as soon as possible, but this is such an important franchise, we support Take-Two in taking as much time as they need to make a great game.â€
And time they may need, as analysts even speculated that the PS3 may have been the cause in the game’s delay, with such an intense system to work around.
“We think it is likely that the Rockstar team had difficulty in building an exceptionally complicated game for the PS3, and failed to recognize how far away from completion the game truly was until recently,” Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, told Gamespot. “We think it is also likely that Take-Two had a contractual commitment to Sony that it would not favor competitor Microsoft by launching the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV prior to launching the PS3 version, and believe that any delay of the PS3 version necessitated a delay of the Xbox 360 version.”
But on Saturday, William wrote a post saying that the PS3 wasn’t so much to blame for the delay as was the Xbox 360, but even that was not substantiated. From what Shane Kim, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios, said, it appears that any there aren’t any real conflicts from their end.
Whatever the case may be, the delays are going to be a drag for all you GTA fans out there, as PC World is reporting that the game won’t be on the shelves until at least April of next year. The absence of the game from this year-end’s lineup is going to be an interesting shift of focus, probably landing on Halo 3, even though it’s simply Bungie harder, better, faster, stronger.