When Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories was released last October to solid reviews, many people plunked down $249 for a PlayStation Portable just so they could play it. Many of those same people scowled when Take-Two Interactive, parent of GTA publisher Rockstar Games, announced it will port the game to the PlayStation 2 during its February to April quarter.
As Liberty City Stories will be the first game ported from the PSP to the PS2, speculation was rampant about what the console version of the game would be like. Would it merely be a straight port of the handheld game, which has the same setting as Grand Theft Auto III, or would its developers at Rockstar Leeds add new features and content that couldn't fit on the 1.6GB Universal Media Discs that the PSP uses?
Today in a postearnings report conference call with analysts, Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler hinted that the PS2 Liberty City Stories won't be that much different from the PSP version. "We've delivered unprecedented and tremendous value to the consumer, in terms of the size of the actuality and the scope [of the game]," he said.
Perhaps more telling was Eibeler's revelation that Liberty City Stories will cost less on the PS2 than it does for the PSP. "We've been very, very successful at full price on the PSP, which is a different type of consumer," he said. "We've delivered a new game for the PSP, that's a $249 purchase, and we're looking at lower pricing on Liberty City Stories for the console, which is a $149 or below purchase."
Currently, the PSP version of Liberty City Stories is $49.99. One scenario is that the PS2 version will debut at the $39.99 price point, which Electronic Arts, a bitter Take-Two rival, is now releasing its games at. However, unconfirmed online reports say retailers have recieved materials saying the game will cost $29.99. It could conceivably be priced even cheaper, perhaps even bearing the same $19.99 sticker currently sported by the Greatest Hits version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
A budget price point would make it less attractive for Take-Two to put excessive resources into adding new content to Liberty City Stories for the PS2, however. And Eibeler seems pretty satisfied with the game in its current form. "We think Liberty City Stories is a great product, and we look forward to bringing together the console and handheld [platforms]...because it does tie back into the original Grand Theft Auto III storyline," he said. "It's very engaging for the consumer."