Grand Theft Auto 5 Release Date Confirmed
Rockstar has confirmed the release date for Grand Theft Auto 5; shifting it back from its previously vague window of Spring, to the much more specific September 17th.
It’s a move that has caused no small amount of speculation in the video games press. GTA 5 is possibly the most highly-anticipated game of 2013, and Take Two Interactive, the game’s publishers, apparently expect it to bring in $600 million in revenue.
The reason for the speculation is that confirmation of the release dates for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 (for lack of a better term) appear to be looming. Feelings are strong that firm news will be released at E3 this year, possibly for a release window around Christmas. I’ll stick my neck out here and say that not only do I disagree with that, but my money is on us not seeing the new consoles until some time next year.
Releasing the new consoles shortly after GTA 5 would have a profoundly negative impact on the game’s sales. Consumers will naturally be cautious about spending money on a system that will be replaced in the very near future. That covers not just the game itself, but any DLC that may be planned for the game. While it’s a safe bet that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 will be backwards compatible (to the current generation at least), I think it’s also a safe bet that your current DLC won’t be forwards compatible. There will no doubt be technical issues trotted out and reported as reasons for this, but the main reason will be that the console makers, and ultimately the game publishers, don’t want you to hang onto the current generation; they want you to move on, upgrade, and embrace the new platform. They want your money in their pockets. One of the most effective ways of doing that will be to make it harder and harder for you to continue playing your current generation games.
Speaking with CVG UK, Doug Creutz of financial analyst firm Cowen and Company suggested that the next gen consoles will launch in the last financial quarter of this year. That’s “Christmas” for laypeople like you and I. I’m not convinced. Given Take Two’s predictions for GTA 5, I don’t see them doing anything to endanger those figures like releasing it on soon-to-be-dead systems. That’s assuming, of course, that Take Two or any other publisher have been told behind closed doors when Microsoft or Sony plan to release their new consoles.
Sony could be running a long con here — trying to fake out Microsoft and everyone else, only to pull the rug out at the last minute. Again, I don’t see that happening. Sony may be many things, but adventurous and creative are no longer it. Plus, nothing makes investors jumpier than financial uncertainty.
If nothing else, I can hope for the real name for Microsoft’s new console soon, because Xbox 720 sounds increasingly stupid.