Analysts baffled by GTA-hardware disconnect

Industry watchers scratch heads about Rockstar hit's inability to spark Xbox 360 and PS3 system sales.

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When Grand Theft Auto IV was released in late April, analysts expected the highly anticipated Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game to inspire gamers on the sidelines of the current-generation console wars to jump into the fray and pick up a system. Even though hardware sales from April and May didn't reflect the expected influx of new PS3 and 360 owners, the industry-tracking NPD Group's own analyst is holding out hope for a GTA-driven bump in June's sales "due to gift-giving for Father's Day and graduations."

In notes to investors today, Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter said he was again surprised at GTAIV's inability to drive hardware sales. And without new Xbox 360s and PS3s finding their ways into consumers' hands, the game could lose its sales momentum in a hurry.

"Sales were once again led by GTAIV selling 1.3 million units compared with our estimate of 1.7 million units," Pachter said. "This implies a tie ratio of 28 percent, implying potential for tempering demand over the next several months unless the installed base for PS3 and 360 grows faster."

EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich suggested this week's release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots might have an easier time moving hardware than Rockstar's latest.

"This is likely due to the exclusivity factor as exclusive releases on Sony's platforms have historically shown to be a better hardware driver than that of multi-platform releases," Divnich said.

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