Microsoft paid $75 million to stop GTAIV PS3 exclusivity?

Wedbush's Michael Pachter says that the software giant spent lavishly to bring megahit to Xbox 360; Agent reportedly replacement for stillborn Rockstar zombie game.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter is famous for making bold predictions--not all of which come to pass. However, in an interview with Eurogamer this week, the outspoken analyst shed some light on a major gaming event of the past.

"Microsoft paid Take-Two [Interactive] to make Grand Theft Auto IV non-exclusive," he told the publication. "GTA IV was going to be a PS3 exclusive, but Microsoft paid Rockstar and Take-Two to make it a non-exclusive, and they paid them a lot."

When Microsoft announced that Grand Theft Auto IV would launch simultaneously on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at its 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo briefing, there were audible gasps in the audience. It was a major coup for the software giant, as the three previous iterations of Rockstar Games' wildly popular open-world crime series had debuted on the PlayStation 2. After several months, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas did eventually make their way to the original Xbox and PC.

According to Pachter, Microsoft paid a massive premium to bring Grand Theft Auto, which has sold over 15 million units, to the 360 on day one. "The number I've heard, and I'm sure this is right, is $75 million, and that probably includes the funding for the first DLC packs too," said the analyst. "It's more than the $50 million that people talk about."

GTAIV protagonist Niko Bellic was a $75 million man, according to Pachter.

The downloadable content packs Pachter mentions are the two GTAIV expansions, the Lost & Damned and the Ballad of Gay Tony. During a June 2007 conference call with analysts, Take-Two executives revealed that Microsoft had paid them $25 million for each episode to make them 360-exclusive permanently. However, that presumption was dashed when Rockstar announced they were bound for the PC and PS3 in January. The pair launched just last week for the latter two platforms as a la carte DLC or as part of the Episodes from Liberty City compilation (see video review below), which does not require Grand Theft Auto IV to play.

Pachter also shared some second-hand information on Agent, the forthcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive from the GTAIV team at Rockstar North. He explained it thusly: "Sony…said to Take-Two, 'You've got to give us something else,' and the 'something else' was a zombie game that Rockstar wanted to work on. But while Rockstar was in the planning phase, Dead Rising came out and Left 4 Dead was announced. Rockstar realized they were up against a saturated market and said, 'What can we possibly do that will be any better than what Valve's done?' They started again, and that's when they came up with the idea of Agent, [but] nobody actually knows what it is."

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Discussion

503 comments
Tixylixx
Tixylixx

Money well spent, it worked.

AliRboy
AliRboy

they do want you to enjoy! USING ONLY THEIR PRODUCTS

Creed02
Creed02

They Both Should Stop Taking Exclusivity On Any Game So Every One Can Enjoy Without a war LOL

valensim
valensim

so if GTA IV was made for PS3, then why was it better sold on the XBox 360 ??? hmmm .....

andytisnt
andytisnt

i guess when it all boils down to it, sony is a business trying to make money

valensim
valensim

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

PS3_Gamerboy
PS3_Gamerboy

THE ps3 was going to be legendary ,If it were not for Microsoft's Money games . When Microsoft realized that. PS 3 was so ahead of them, they panicked , they started to give money to developers for removing Exclusivity and making PS3 version Inferior ,when actually they could look 1000 times better !! , The XBOX is Holding the PS3 back bcuz of Microsoft money games :( , Someone tell me i am Wrong, This is what i think

1ss89t
1ss89t

gta 4 is a very god game and it deserve 10 maybe it wil apear later gta 5 a better game (maybe)

cainetao11
cainetao11

demeor, I still wonder why did Iron Man on blu ray need an additional disc? With the blu ray storage capacity, couldn't the bonus materials fit on it as well? Funny how in gaming, more discs, now bad. But with movies, it's bonus.

demeor
demeor

funnymanbing, Ok, it isn't HDDVD, it's DVD. All I'm saying is whatever disc the Xbox 360 uses (which is DVD) has only very little space available. If the developers at RockstarGames even had trouble with getting the game onto a DVD, then that's one of the reason's why RockstarGames likes the PS3 more. Since Microsoft's DVDs only hold 9GB, that's probably why they sometimes provide a second disc with some Xbox games that are purchased by consumers. Because all the room has been filled on the first one! This is exactly what iTunes taught me. Also because you never see a PS3 game cartridge with a second game in it. It is disappointing for me to not see a bonus disc (because I enjoy the bonus disc) but that's only because the Blu-Ray's storage management is a lot better than Microsoft's.

snoopy_22
snoopy_22

Whaa if GTA was PS3 exclusive I would stop playing GTA, the game wouldn't even be on the PC! Sony Playstation is getting lamer and lamer every update... Good job Microsoft :)

dievyan
dievyan

All is fair in LOVE and WAR...In other words, Microsoft is in the gaming competition to win in the competition, they do not care how badly they are going to crush the opponent and they are aware that the competition is not going to have mercy for them! Xbox Live for the win, PSN for the garbage bin!

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

like so many other games Microsoft has paid for either for exclusivity, or to keep Sony from having exclusive games MS just does what it can to make sure that Sony does not have the upper hand

jackdaniel594
jackdaniel594

lol microsoft always pay off companies, and sometimes for no reason (eg, GTA EFLC)), looks like they gotta save up for GTA5

W-zup
W-zup

Kachinnnnn...!!!!!!!

DanC1989
DanC1989

@freema: I definitely am not too young although I may have not played by the age ratings along the line somewhere :P Well if that's the case then it's one of the rare cases in business that loyalty actually exists. You'd have thought at the time (what with the huge difference in install base of the two consoles) that it'd have been a daft idea to release it exclusively on the PS3. And in a time of recession I might add.

DanC1989
DanC1989

@Adubbb But that money was to take it away from being the Playstation exclusivity if we are to believe this article..Sony would probably help fund exclusive development but not to the tune of $75 million?

Adubbb
Adubbb

@DanC1989 "Why does Rockstar have (seemingly!) such an affinity for Sony and the Playstation brand?" They don't, they have an affinity for $75 million.

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@I33tek actually, no they are obviously not talking zombie if what Pacter says is true, they saw zombies as oversaturated.

Serentor
Serentor

Thats really mean if this is true. Shame on rockstar, afterall most their games have always been release for both ps2 and xbox, i remember playing their games all the time on the old xbox, didnt expect that.

l33tek
l33tek

' They started again, and that's when they came up with the idea of Agent, [but] nobody actually knows what it is." Did someone say zombie?! You now have my attention!!!!! Proceed....

Psycold
Psycold

kinda strange that not only was GTAIV NOT exclusive to PS3, but it was optimized for X360, even the PC version was an X360 version.

tezzalodge
tezzalodge

Errm I remember back around "97" on ps1, a little game called grand theft auto and its follow up, grand theft auto london, creating a lot of controversy and selling rather well off the back of it....

freema
freema

@ DanC1989 Why does Bungie have (seemingly!) such an affinity for Microsoft and the xbox brand? Maybe Rockstar care about playstation because it was their partnership with Sony (on ps2) that made them so huge. Just thinking :) . But then I guess you might be too young (if you were really born in 1989) to know that the GTA series first became a big hit when it came out on ps2.

DanC1989
DanC1989

Why does Rockstar have (seemingly!) such an affinity for Sony and the Playstation brand?

coldsauce09
coldsauce09

@demeo 99 thumbs up!! we have the same idea

anthonycg
anthonycg

I'm all for sharing the GTA goodness but this could lead to paying off game companies to take exclusive titles permanently. Just look at how Sega sold out with Virtua Fighter 5 online. Although that could just be sega being stupid...

blancobo
blancobo

@ SibirskiyTigr: The widely mentioned main problem with the PS3 is pain to develop on Cell processor. There were many initial complaints for lack of adequate support during development phase to Publishers/ developers, factual data about how many other studios 2K hired to aid in the development of the original Bioshock for the PS3- because it was too complicated to develop on it. Some old articles here at GS show that Sony made some decision to stop research on Cell processing/processors and future proprietary hardware because of the $ vs ROI. PS3 IMO is the BEST console out there. It is fact that different to the PS2, the PS3 development / knowledge base grew after the 360 was already very dev. friendly (though prone to the RROD). I feel Americans wanted to have their national flagship console and the 360 made just that- also considering that the online service was the trend at the moment for next gen gaming. Also, different to the 360, the development costs of the PS3 were ridiculously high, as was the original price point, and because of arrogance... Ken Kutaragi lost many exclusivity deals that would have made some difference. In the end, the console first to the market, regardless, was the strongest. The PS3 now has to catch up, a place were Microsoft was with the original XB... I guess it is not that much about maximizing capabilities but about the work that needs to be put to achieve a great final product for the PS3.

funnymanbing
funnymanbing

@demeor Actually, an HDDVD holds 30 gigs, but the 360 doesn't use HDDVD's, it uses DVD's, which hold 9 gigs. I do agree that I would have liked to see what GTA IV could have done if it had remained PS3 exclusive though. It doesn't matter too much to me though. I bought it on PS3 and it's still my favorite game this generation. I do find it interesting though, that Dan and Sam Houser have stated that the biggest problem with developing the game was fitting it onto a single DVD for 360, and that they weren't sure how to fit the next game on Xbox.

advanracer
advanracer

Nothing Like MONEY..for "exclusivity rights". LMAO.

notoriousmakave
notoriousmakave

already knew this for years in was in game informer 3 years ago

SibirskiyTigr
SibirskiyTigr

There is absolutely no difference between ps3 and 360 versions, ps3 is a monster of a console on paper....too bad developers arent maximizing its capabilities :( When I play on my ps3 and see lag...makes my heart cry a bit.

demeor
demeor

No drewtronamuas, they shouldn't because the next GTA is going to have a lot of content that won't fit onto an HDDVD. Blu-Ray holds 50GBs, while HDDVD only holds 9GBs. It's all Microsoft's fault for dumbing down GTA4. Because GTA4 was going to be a heavy game, but Microsoft payed the $75M to have it dumbed down for both consoles (as in ruined for the PS3). Did it turn out good? It did, but it could've been better...

drewtronamuas
drewtronamuas

They should of paid for the next gen gta to be an exclusive xbox game instead of the small installments like add ons "great way to spend ur money ms ole greedy bastards"

colt_a
colt_a

@laptop12 Sounds like you are a fanboi yourself. And if you think there were no "console wars" pre xbox, you must be too young to know anything about it. N64 vs. Playstation, Sega vs. Super Nintendo, etc. It has ALWAYS been there. Instead of trying to say Sony is some self-righteous gaming platform that people flock too (which is false) why don't you look at the fact that they've been in the console game industry twice as long and now have less exclusives? The exclusives themselves can be debated forever when it comes to stuff like Mass Effect, Halo, etc vs. Killzone, Uncharted etc. That's all opinion, and frankly they don't matter. Is the reason PS3 exclusives are going away because the PS3 sucks? Is it because Xbox is better? The answer is no. Some devs (like Valve) will tell you its because taking advantage of the Cell processor is a pain (it is, but you can still half-ass it and the game turns out okay, look at most PS3 games today...they are almost all ports)...the main thing is that no one can afford to be exclusive anymore. Not unless they are owned directly by the console company themselves. Exclusives aren't earned, very few these days are bought. Most of them just stopped existing because its more profitable to be 3rd party.

laptop12
laptop12

M$, stop making a new xbox, let only playstation and nintendo on the floor, just like the old day, people happy playing their game, and can play all games to, there would be no fanboy or console war anymore, 2 is a nice number but 3, i feel good when ps3 doesnt has Mario or Wii has God of War...

laptop12
laptop12

if GTA4 was only on ps3, a lots of people would'nt know that 360 exist, Sony earn the exclusive, M$ have to buy it

Darth_Ultima
Darth_Ultima

@MartyrofMegiddo Mass Effect and ME2. Both of which I have invested countless hours into and consider to be the greatest games of all time.

MartyrofMegiddo
MartyrofMegiddo

What scum. I always thought of Microsoft as all money and no heart and this is one of those things that bludgeons down my beliefs. I can't think of much that the X-boxes have brought to the table that can stand on their own, other than halo, gears, and their great online community. I tend to be very open minded and try as many different things as possible. If their is another good xbox only game out there please feel free to let me know what you have played that satisfied your want for an excursion. I've played assassins creed but wasn't pleased. Number two is supposed to be good but games like that have been no longer xbox exclusive. I've always wanted to play dead rising and that too is being transported to other consoles but I suppose that doesn't disvalue the original

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Microsoft's strategy this generation: Kill the competition through marketing... For proof - look at how many internal studios Microsoft has left developing games. They have, like 2. They are paying off 3rd parties to create exclusives for the 360 with the money they save from not having their own development houses. The strategy seems to be working pretty well. The problem is that Sony has some amazing in-house talent creating games like Uncharted and God of War as well as extremely popular niche titles like LittleBigPlanet and Heavy Rain. Microsoft is taking a big risk letting the 3rd parties rule the games on their system while they rule the network. I guess it's what they're good at...

RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@ali-009 I wish I could agree with you about Konami, but take a look at MGS: Rising and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Neither are PS3-exclusives.

RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

Dick move by Microsoft, but an extremely smart one. If GTAIV had been PS3-only then it probably would have hurt Xbox sales pretty badly.

I would have liked to see Rockstar's take on zombies. Hell, if they just made a zombie-mode DLC for GTAIV (zombies in Liberty City!) then I'd be happy with that.

Can't wait to see how Agent turns out. I've been excited since it was first announced and hopefully we will get more news on it at E3

topeira
topeira

oh, and by the way - take 2 made the best decision taking the cash and getting the game to all platforms. im sure the studio and it's games only benefited the extra cash. Red dead redemption looks amazing and who knows if it looked that well if the budget was millions less if the deal hadn't happened?

topeira
topeira

the fact that GTAIV and RDR came to all 3 platforms not only didnt hurt the way the game is but also provided take 2 with more money to make these games better. there is almost nothing bad for consumers with games coming out to all systems. the only ones who suffer are sony\M.S. i am enjoying GTAIv on my PC and i thank god that the game came to my favourite platform. i trust R* with my money and will gladly pay for any future game they create that will come to the PC. multi-platform games are good for the industry, good for gamers and good for developers.

freema
freema

Pfff! wasting money on timed exclusives doesn't make Microsoft look bad. You know what makes microsoft look bad to me? The fact that I still have a working launch ps3 ... while I don't even want to say how many "boxes" I went through (I'll give a clue; only three were out of warranty when they broke down so its actually a little more than that). So here is an idea. Maybe in the future MC should spend $75 million on fixing its crappy console and not paying for something we were able to get on other systems (including pc) anyway. Ironically, my third xbox RRODed while playing GTA IV.

GavinEvans1989
GavinEvans1989

so many little fanboys get both consoles before bashing one if you did you would realise that there is nearly no difference in the games except the 360 has better online and the ps3 has better darks, mgs4 was the worst game in the series you play as an old arthritic snake who is still lumbered with a cry baby of a side kick in Otocon the bosses where far to easy and the story was stale, as for Microsoft paying for GTA iv to be on the system so what it just meant more people could enjoy the game and as I have played both in 1080p I can say there really isn’t any difference except in the online play, as for the dlc to say Microsoft should die because they wanted it to them self’s that is crap what about the joker packs on batman should Sony die because they are exclusive to ps3.......

slainta
slainta

Micro$oft should die. They paid to take out some other people fun. Fortunately they failed.