Sony downplays GTA IV’s extras, but nobody’s buying it

There once was a time when exclusives played a big part in console sales, and while times have indeed changed, having the right games on your hardware can still make a difference. It’s public knowledge that Sony may have dragged their feet when it came time to wheeling and dealing with Rockstar, and they paid a pretty big price for that mistake — Grand Theft Auto IV is now multiplatform. But the past is the past, and it can no longer be undone. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t downplay what the competition has to offer. According to SCEA’s VP of Product Marketing, Scott Steinberg, the episodic content offered to Xbox 360 owners is nothing to get worked up about: 

“[Microsoft] spent the GNP of several small Latin American countries to get that [content], and if you’ve ever played San Andreas…there’s a lot of game to Grand Theft Auto and there’s going to be a lot of game to Grand Theft Auto IV to the point where I think most people will have that Grand Theft Auto experience on the PS3, day and date, same core game shipping on the 360. Perhaps they’ll be shipping some episodic content in the fall, but there is a whole lot of product shipping on the PS3 in April and I personally don’t think there’s going to be a huge percentage of folks who jump into downloadable content for another price when they’re still playing through the core product.”

More on this, after the jump:

Scott then goes on to remind us about Sony’s own bag of exclusives, and what it possibly means not only to those who have a PS3, but also to those who are still hesitant about taking the Sony plunge: 

“I think PlayStation fans know the Grand Theft Auto experience on the PS2 is how they grew up playing Grand Theft Auto,” he continued, “and when you combine GTA IV with MGS 4 and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, all the exclusive content that we’ve got going forward, I think that goes from tipping point to shoving point for consumers who are on the fence, wondering what platform should I buy. I think the clear exclusive message that we have is that the PS3 is where, not only do you get Grand Theft Auto, but you’ll get MGS, you’ll get Gran Turismo and these are also brands that have moved hardware units. It’s the elite of the elite products that actually enable hardware to be sold with software and we’ll have three of them.”

Personally, I’m thinking that most people will be too busy fooling around with the main game to worry too much about the extras Microsoft is offering, but it’s still a nice touch that shouldn’t be underestimated, and I have little doubt that it will make a difference in sales. Everything else being equal, there’s going to be a cross section of consumers with both consoles who are going to view the Xbox 360 version as being “more complete.” On the other hand, it’s equally understandable why Sony would want to downplay this (remember what GTA did for PS2 sales?), and paint the broader picture that the PS3 has the blockbuster games that matter. Unfortunately, nobody’s buying it.

While the PS3’s hardware is arguably equal (if not better, depending on who you talk to) to the Xbox 360’s, Microsoft has had no trouble matching and surpassing (once again, depends on who you ask) Sony’s game library in the current gen. So while I plan on picking up the PS3 version as a matter of personal preference, I’m betting that the 360 is going to do more than hold its own in terms of total sales of the game. As Microsoft predicted, it could very well own it. Even if a part of their userbase will have their consoles in transit to and from the repair center when the game launches, the fact remains that everybody and their brother still owns one, while the PS3 has only recently started getting noticed by the general population.

[Via Gamedaily — Thanks Jonathan!]