Grand Theft Auto
fans can take a breather - following a rash of alarmist reports that GTA IV
would be delayed, Take-Two has confirmed that the game is still on track for release early next year.
Speaking in response to the reports - which originated in a spot of vagueness on GTA IV
's firm release date - Take-Two's chairman, Strauss Zelnick, said:
"I wasn't intending to be newsworthy. When asked about the release date, I confirmed the previous release date we'd given, which is our second fiscal quarter. That's to say sometime between the beginning of February and the end of April."
The rumour kicked off when Zelnick said, among other things, "we'll give a firm release date when we know we can stick to it", when speaking to analysts. Chinese whispers and mass hysteria followed, with many assuming his lack of commitment to a date meaning the game was delayed.
Zelnick also had a few choice words on the fact that GTA IV will not be out for Christmas
as Take-Two had originally planned. "I think the intense focus on the Christmas selling season for the video game business is a holdover from its origins as an adjunct to the toy business", he said.
"While other entertainment businesses also have strong selling seasons around Christmas, it's also true that you can sell music and encourage people to watch movies through the rest of the year. And I think the same ought to hold true of the interactive entertainment business as it matures", he went on. "That said, I don't necessarily believe the change in these release dates affects that, but if the side effect of these release dates is that consumers say, 'This is great. I can buy terrific games year-round,' then obviously that would be a good thing for the industry and not just Take-Two."
As for that exact date for GTA IV
, well... we'll have to wait. "Obviously we want to make sure not to disappoint anyone, and we're going to give that date as soon as we feel very comfortable that we know the exact date within that three-month period that we outlined", Zelnick said.
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