Japanese consumers rarely have to wait behind the West for video games to reach their shores, but Rockstar Games' "Grand Theft Auto" franchise has been the exception as it has performed poorly in Japan compared with its monster-hit status worldwide. But six months after having launched in the U.S. and Europe, Rockstar's
"GTA IV" was released in Japan, having undergone months of tinkering to concoct ways to take a game heavily steeped in American culture and relate it to the Japanese experience.
Take-Two Interactive, the maker of the "Grand Theft Auto IV" video game, received a huge boost in its fight against a takeover attempt from rival Electronic Arts when "GTA IV" blew through analysts' expectations and grossed $500 million in sales in its first week in release, according to reports. The company is expected to disclose today that it sold 6 million copies of the game. If sales continue to outstrip predictions, analysts say, EA might be forced to increase its bid for Take-Two beyond its initial offer of $25.74 a share.
GameStop is reporting an uptick in PlayStation 3 sales after the release of "Grand Theft Auto IV." "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," said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president, merchandising, at GameStop.
Rockstar Games' "Grand Theft Auto IV" is expected to generate $400 million in sales during its first week at retail, which would overshadow the $300 million in first-week sales for Microsoft's "Halo 3." "GTA IV" at its debut will be available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, while "Halo 3" is exclusively an Xbox 360 title.
Analysts are predicting record-breaking sales for the week after the April 29 release of "Grand Theft Auto IV," a bonanza that they say could endanger Electronic Arts' $26-a-share buyout bid for Take-Two Interactive, the maker of "GTA4." One gaming analyst suggests that Take-Two could sell 5.8 million units and propel the company's shares past $26.