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Microsoft's Grand Theft Auto exclusive: Is it worth $25M?

Techflash: The Xbox 360's exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV add-on, "The Lost and the Damned," debuted yesterday to generally positive reviews. That's good news for Microsoft -- especially considering how much the company paid for rights to the extra downloadable episode.

Seth Schiesel's New York Times review gives you a good sense for what $25 million buys a console company these days.

"The Lost and Damned" suffers from a few curious and unfortunate design decisions - players often have less freedom than in the original - that will probably prompt most to return to the original game after completing the new episode's main story. But there is no question that it is the most fully realized, thoroughly produced and substantial downloadable add-on yet released for a console game. Anyone who enjoys Grand Theft Auto IV should get it."

For the record, we know how much Microsoft paid because of comments made by Take-Two Interactive finance chief Lanie Goldstein back in 2007. According to those comments, the company agreed to pay another $25 million for the second exclusive episode.

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jahcure3502d ago

I think that's how they broke it down. Remember there's one more version coming out. I don't know man I saw GTAIV for $14.99 at blockbuster but i still couldn't bring myself to rebuy it.

Nineball21123502d ago

I think this was a bad move by Microsoft, but I'm sure they don't care about my opinion! :-)

That's a lot of cash and it probably could have been used in better ways.

It'll be interesting to see how many people buy the DLC for this and the next installment.

RyuStrife3502d ago

I actually believe this is paid for by the yearly subscription than out of Microsoft's own pocket. Well, who really knows though. They just forked out that much money anyways. I'd prefer a new IP but if it's worth it, maybe it's worth it after all.

Elven63502d ago

Its probably safe to say the two DLC packs combined will equal the length of vanillia GTA 4, since GTA 4 had cost $100 million to develop in theory something the same length of GTA 4 for only half that would be a good deal.

Its safe to say when Rockstar does something they do it big, no argument there, whether Microsoft will make that money back is what we will have to see. They probably looked at things like how current expansion packs have sold on the XBLM. If COD 4 map packs can sell 1 million in 24 hours at $10 a piece a game as popular as GTA 4 should have no problem making at least $20 million in DLC.

ikaris3502d ago

M$ pays money for ps3 owners not to have the content so that people who own both platforms (myself included) will buy their GTAIV format. I will not be buying LATD purely because M$ is evil, no matter how good the content is. I have GTAIV on my 360 because I didn't have a ps3 when it came out, but believe me when I say it is not at all difficult to withhold 20$ from M$. 50million is another mistake M$ will have to pay for.

jmare3502d ago

Your point is inaccurate. COD4 DLC, which was MP maps, sold well because the main draw of the game was the MP. The same is not true of GTA4. While people play GTA4 MP the primary reason to play GTA is the SP portion. As a result of a weaker MP portion, comparatively to other games like COD4, a lot of people got rid of GTA4 after beating it. And while some people may buy GTA again to play this DLC, the likelihood of that is not something most developers or publishers would bet on.

IdleLeeSiuLung3502d ago (Edited 3502d ago )

$20 million per episode is quite a bit of money, but as the article pointed out they need to sell 1.25 million copies or so to break even. The added benefit is greater exposure in marketing and those who own both PS3 and 360 probably chose the 360 version due to the possibility of DLC. So some of those sales that otherwise might have been lost was paid for this DLC.

Another thing is that MS paid for was the guaranteed sales from the GTA IP which was huge on the PS2.

With that said, Gears of War reportedly cost only $10 million to make with less than 30 people on staff at any point in time. With $50 million could net you 5 games of GeoW caliber!!!

thewhoopimen3502d ago

The author of the article is a bit.... naive to assume that MS is getting 100% of the total sale revenue generated from LATD's sales.
I am 99.9% sure that Take Two gets a royalty cut for publishing and
distribution of the title. My guess is that MS has to sell closer to 2 mill in order break 'even' on this episode. But hey if they can, more power to them.

BRG90003502d ago (Edited 3502d ago )

What often fails to be included in these discussions is how these exclusives affected sales of the original game. When multiplatform owners were deciding which console to buy GTAIV for, I imagine exclusive upcoming expansions were important to that decision. I don't own both consoles, but if I did I would have chosen the Xbox version for that reason.

To take it even further, many people undoubtedly bought their first console of this generation upon the release of GTA. Exclusivity here may have even extended to affecting which console some people purchased, or at least I'm sure that's what Microsoft was hoping.

My point is that this venture can't simply be named a success or failure based upon how many copies of the DLC are downloaded.

ukilnme3502d ago

@ BRG9000

Well put. Bubble up.

burbulla3502d ago

INTERESTING FACT: Gta 4 could be purchased at a price of $14.99 at blockbuster, while the DLC costs $20 + Xbox live connectivity <-(verify this).

IMO, I doubt if it will sell millions, as you need to own a copy of GTA 4 to play the DLC. Basically Microsoft bought the DLC to counter Killzone 2 launch. The sales figure for Killzone 2 should be interesting.

FarEastOrient3502d ago

Full use of DLC? I guess the New York Times hasn't even considered Burnout Paradise that has been adding DLC, especially the bike pack, in which all the content has been free so far with the exception of the Party pack that was released recently.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 3502d ago
Zeus Lee3502d ago

Heh,waste of money if you ask me.

onomix3502d ago

The DLC contains: more superior handling of bikes, a new soundtrack, new weapons, more sketches at the comedy club, new online modes + more that I forgot to mention. I think it was worth it Microsoft.

burbulla3502d ago (Edited 3502d ago )

It's not great value, just more of the same, will the awe-factor be the same when you inserted GTA4 disc for the first time into your console?
If I owned the 360 I wouldn't have bought this DLC, but that's just me.

lelo3502d ago (Edited 3502d ago )

I think 50 million was way to much money for 2 DLC for GTA4. I might be wrong.

It cost 25 million dollars each. Let's say that MS does not receive the full 20 dollars due to expenses, and only receive 15 dollars of each DLC, they have to sell 1,66 million GTA4 DLC to start making a profit. That's a lot of DLC's they have to sell.

Goon 1873502d ago (Edited 3502d ago )

say I haven't start the game on single player yet can I go straight to the downloadable mission's or do I have to beat the main single player story first before playing the downloadable content?

The reason I'm asking this is because I made a new GT lately and I haven't played GTA IV on it.

Also is it really worth $20?

Kushan3502d ago

It's a separate "game" so you don't need a GTAIV save file. I've not got it myself, but apparently you do get a lot for $20.

princejb1343502d ago

play through the story a bit first, toy around with it, then decide if you wanna buy it or not
i personally did not like gta4 so i aint buy it, but there are many users who enjoyed the game

Goon 1873502d ago

Thanks for the info, I'm going to buy it when I have some extra bread.

@princejb134

I thought GTA4 was cool, the only complaint I had was that It didn't have much options as GTA Sand andreas.

Harry1903502d ago

They also paid to ensure that GTA4 itself would be on the 360 to cover the risk taken by Rockstar.