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GTA IV loads up for next-gen crimewave

Latest bout of Grand Theft Auto to get simultaneous 360 and PS3 release, with content via Xbox Live

Got a 2007 diary yet? Write a note next October 19. It's the date when Grand Theft Auto IV will be storming Europe, with a surprise simultaneous launch for both PS3 and the Xbox 360.

Microsoft and Rockstar announced the news yesterday, with inevitable happiness sweeping across those loyal to the Microsoft console. While October 19 is the European date, American audiences will get it three days earlier on October 16.

Sadly though, there is absolutely no news on game details - not even a murmuring - so we can only speculate on what setting the game will take. A slightly futuristic take on New York? '70s disco fever? A return to cocker-ney London town? Luton? We have absolutely no bloody idea.

In a further announcement, Rockstar also revealed that "exclusive" episodic Grand Theft Auto content will be made available to the Microsoft mobsters via Xbox Live.

"Through Xbox Live, we have a unique opportunity to reach out to our audience in new ways," said a Rockstar spokesman. "This strategic alliance allows us to craft experiences that fully leverage the on-demand distribution power and sheer size of Xbox Live." Once again, fantastic news if you're a 360er. Just think - possible new maps, new weapons, new Mr. T haircuts to make your lead character look blimin' daft.

Hopefully, gaming details and first teaser screens won't be too far down the line. The game is, of course, being developed by Rockstar North.