Microsoft has told Next-Gen that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV is outselling the PlayStation 3 version by a wide margin in the US, but Sony questions Microsoft's claims.
"What we've heard anecdotally from our retail partners is that the Xbox 360 version of the game is outselling the PS3 version by a margin of two-to-one," said Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live during an interview Thursday.
"That mirrors what we saw with pre-orders, but it continues to hold true at retail, at least for the first couple of days. It's a great sign."
But a SCEA rep questioned Microsoft's findings, saying that Microsoft's two-to-one ratio "doesn't line up" with what Sony has been hearing from its retailers. The rep declined to say exactly what Sony has been hearing from its retail partners until more concrete data can be compiled.
Rockstar's GTA IV launched on Tuesday.
In day-one sales in the UK, the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV outsold the PS3 version: 335,000 versus 274,000, respectively, according to Chart Track.
One of the big questions hovering around the release of GTA IV is just how much of an impact the game will have on sales of Xbox 360 and PS3.
SCEA released a statement Thursday saying that GTA IV drove a boost in PS3 sales on the game's launch day, although the company has yet to release hard figures.
Microsoft also has yet to release post-GTA IV hardware sales figures, but Greenberg said, "We've heard from our retailers that the consoles saw strong lifts during the week. We typically wait for [research firm] NPD to give us a better read on that.
"But we expect that GTA IV is definitely driving a lot of people to Xbox 360. ... The fact that we know that we're outselling [the PS3 version] two-to-one on the game is a pretty good sign that a lot of those games are going with a new console out the door."
Asked if April NPD results would definitely show a GTA IV-driven Xbox 360 hardware boost, Greenberg said, "I think we'll have solid performance in April, but I think you might actually see a bigger impact in May."
Analysts (and Sony) point out that the GTA series has deep roots in the PlayStation brand, which still has strong pull with mainstream gamers who have yet to upgrade from their PS2s.
But Greenberg suggested that many gamers are ignoring PlayStation brand loyalty in the case of GTA IV because of the exclusive downloadable content that will be available for the Xbox 360 this fall.
"That's making a big difference in peoples' console purchase decisions. ... GTA fans are switching over to Xbox 360 just like Guitar Hero fans and Madden fans did. ...The same thing is happening with Grand Theft Auto IV."
Greenberg also said that many gamers are "graduating" from the last generation of consoles to this generation via Xbox 360 and GTA IV.
Heavy Xbox Live play
Greenberg said that on day one, roughly 1 million GTA IV users went online with the game on Xbox Live.
"It's been the number one game on Xbox Live since its launch, so it's knocked off Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4," said Greenberg. "At launch, our data shows that out of all of our members on Live, the majority of them were playing GTA IV.
"With a community of over 10 million members, that's pretty rare."
Greenberg also said that 2 million GTA IV achievements were unlocked in the first 24 hours of the game's release. In addition, over 15 million Gamerscore points were added to users' accounts in the first day.
1.5 million cross-game invites also occurred during that period.
Microsoft has been keen to leverage GTA IV's strong online multiplayer component by including a one-month Xbox Live gold subscription with all GTA IV launch copies. The firm hopes the game will drive Xbox Live adoption. Gold subscriptions cost $50 for a full year.
"Our teams have been doing a lot of work in advance of this game, in fact, months. The operations team has been working on scaling our infrastructure around building and increasing our server capacities," he added.
Article supplied by Next-Gen