Take-Two Frustrated By GTA Expansion Sales
The Grand Theft Auto IV expansion packs received rave reviews from critics, but the Xbox 360-exclusives haven't performed up to expectations for Take-Two's executives.
"Both we and Microsoft believed there was a big market for GTA IV episodic content," Take-Two CEO Ben Feder admitted to investors on a conference call Thursday.
So what was the problem? To Feder, timing is the culprit. "Both were released significantly after the core unit," Feder said in reference to Grand Theft Auto IV, which launched in April 2008, "and therefore weren't able to leverage GTA IV's initial marketing campaign and initial launch fervor." The first expansion, the biker-gang themed Lost and Damned, came out in February 2009. The Ballad of Gay Tony, which focused on the criminal nature of high society, just hit Xbox Live this past October. In the same month, Rockstar also released Episodes From Liberty City, a retail disc that included both expansions.
Though the sales figures haven't been shared publicly, considering Feder's language and that fact that Episodes From Liberty City failed to even crack the NPD top 20 in November, it's easy to conclude that the sales are a far cry from the millions of copies Grand Theft Auto IV sold.
Despite the slower-than-anticipated sales, Feder stated he believes the expansions will have long legs. "There's very little precedent for this type of episodic content at the price point we offered it," Feder said, "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."
So armchair analysts, what you think was the biggest contributing factor to the poor sales? Did being buried in the Xbox Live Marketplace hurt the GTA expansions, was it simply bad timing, or has Grand Theft Auto lost some allure with consumers?