Take-Two Hint at Disappointing Sales of GTA Episodic Content

by Carl Rushworth, posted on 18 December 2009 / 5,163 Views

Despite gaining generally favourable reviews from a number of sites and magazines, and selling a fair few copies, Take-Two have been disappointed with the sales of the Xbox 360 exclusive Grand Theft Auto 4 Episodic Content.

TT-Interactive CEO Ben feder said the following in a call with investors -

"Both we and Microsoft believe there was a big market for GTA IV episodic content."

"And some factors have affected their performance. Both were released significantly after the core unit … GTA IV, which was launched in April of 2008 and therefore weren't able to leverage GTA IV's initial marketing campaign and initial launch fervor."

"Episodes From Liberty City seems to have been most appealing to those who have finished GTA IV and wanted more story and gameplay, which is a smaller market than initially expected."

He did say he expects it to do much better in the long run, just as every other GTA game seems to do... But the question is, will it reach the expectations of Take-Two and/or Microsoft? The disc-based "Episodes From Liberty City" is nearing 1 Million sales worldwide, and the first Episode titled "The Lost and Damned" was reported to have sold 1 Million units on Xbox Live alone a long time ago.

Now, what could have caused these seemingly disappointing sales? The quality of Grand Theft Auto 4 itself? The time it had took for the Content itself to be released? What do you VGC users think?

Source - Kotaku


More Articles

56 Comments

Jordahn (on 21 December 2009)

"kuddles says: I think there's another reason for lower than expected sales that isn't being mentioned: GTA sells so well because it sells outside the "hardcore" group, and the majority of those people just buy GTA games to fool around in them. They don't play through or care about the story, so there's no reason to buy DLC for them." VERY good point. Most casual gamers I know who play GTA play to "blow shit up" (excuse my language). And mostly they think the story mode is "gay." I think all three console have enough "hardcore" games to warrant the hardcore purchase. But at the same time, I've never seen the market this splintered than most generations. Should have put the DLC on both 360 and PS3.


Mr. sickVisionz (on 21 December 2009)

I think the main thing that makes the sales "disappointing" was the assumption that there would be a 100% crossover between people buying the game and buying the expansions. I mean, they sold over 2 million units according to the article. There are full games that would love to have 2 million in sales. They got that off of expansions. I don't know how they see that as a failure unless they were honestly expecting cross over of 50% or higher.


morpheusx (on 21 December 2009)

I am planning on on buying the disc with both games on it, but never would pay $20 for the game or $40 for the set that I am unable to resell later.


Mvp4eVa (on 20 December 2009)

-I think GTA4 as a single game is a perfect game without any DLC and sold millions this way. So, they are complaining because the two dlc didn't sell over 5 mil each, that's why is a disappointment? 1 or 2 mil sold wasn't enough? When you put it all together the GTA4 Xbox 360 version is a $120 game. Can I say greed?


Ostro (on 20 December 2009)

"The quality of Grand Theft Auto 4 itself?" this caught my attention. In my opinion, GTA IV really is a little behind the former games despite the better techs and greater possibilities. The "explore the city and look closely at everything to finish the game 100% with all its little missions"-feeling is lost. RPG players would refer to subquests or something (I don't know their terminology :P), things you don't need to do but which are a great addition.


kuddles (on 20 December 2009)

I think there's another reason for lower than expected sales that isn't being mentioned: GTA sells so well because it sells outside the "hardcore" group, and the majority of those people just buy GTA games to fool around in them. They don't play through or care about the story, so there's no reason to buy DLC for them.


GameAnalyser (on 20 December 2009)

"Both we and Microsoft believe there was a big market for GTA IV episodic content." Now TT has to recite PS3 is the future..NOW BELIEVE


GameAnalyser (on 20 December 2009)

Take-two learnt a lesson now atleast. Especially the part where TT went ahead with an exclusive for one console..


tAeZeR (on 20 December 2009)

how about selling it to the ps3 owners?


cande4me (on 19 December 2009)

Wah! I'm not as rich as was projected! Wah!


AlkamistStar (on 19 December 2009)

Only the last comment made could be perceived as "dissapointing" to the media, but whatever. And to answer the question persented at the end of the article...the time it took for them to release the content was the reason for it not selling more, but still both contents sold extremely well, and into the millions.


Carl2291 (on 19 December 2009)

@ Alkamist He says they thought the market was bigger for them. He also talks about how the performance has been affected. In other words, they were expecting more. And when your expectations aren't met... They are disappointing.


AlkamistStar (on 19 December 2009)

How is this in any way hinting at "dissapointing sales"? Everyone that follows the interviews, and gaming press knows that both episodic contents are not only AA & AAA, but sold great. Well over 1 million for both contents. Lost and Damned sold over 1 million just after its release, i can only imagine now. Big named retail titles sell less, or 2.5 mill tops at times. This article is bs. lol


amacfantasy (on 19 December 2009)

i think most people really are missunnderstanding what they mean by dissapointing, they are just saying its less sales then they thought theyd have thus far, but by all means they are awsome sales for DLC/extra content. At it says a long time ago they said Lost and damned had sold 1 Mil on xbox live, factor in what its done since then, then what ballad of gay tony has done all this time on xbox live. Then take into consideration that the physical disc of liberty city has sold 900k, and i think this DLC has done great. I mean with about 7.5 million owners of the xbox GTA4 how much better could it really have done than that thus far? And also like they said it will do better in the long run this stuff will continue to sell, so its all good guys.


VBI (on 19 December 2009)

The DLC released too far from the actual game. The game was too different from the previous ones for a lot of people. MS in general are far too obsessed with the idea of DLC and anything digital related, not realising or caring that gamers aren't quite as interested. They were quite pricey as well, and lots of people would much rather just play new games than massive, expensive DLC packages for current games.


crak585 (on 19 December 2009)

I never beat GTA IV and have traded it in. After the initial wow factor the game had for about a month I then realized that GTA IV is a regression from the series in everything except for graphics. The multiplayer could of been a lot better as well. I actually enjoyed SAINTS ROW 2 a lot more because the story mode could be played cooperatively. So I agree that the market for those that have beat the game is probably a lot smaller than they expected. Plus releasing it so long after GTA IV released obviously hurt its sales. I hope AGENT for the PS3 can be a better version of GTA IV with larger worlds better graphics more vehicles and so on. I liked how unrealistic Saints Row 2 and the other GTA's were. If Rockstar brought that back instead of trying to get grittier then the game will improve.


DarkNight_DS (on 19 December 2009)

I'd say over 70% of game purchasers never play a game to the end. So if I owned GTA4 and never cleared it, why would I buy more levels to play?


Attoyou (on 19 December 2009)

ya , sorry Take-two guess that's what happens when you leave out nearly half Of GTA4's install Base but what were they expecting ? Just because they Slammed IV on it does not mean its going too sell 4 million in a day . Very VERY good games and i expect GTAEFLC too sell Over 4 Million easy.


CASS1DY (on 19 December 2009)

SOo what it aint like microsoft didnt pay a but load of money to get it to begin with and far as I'm conscerned gta4 itself didnt live up to the hype.alot of people were dissapointed with it and moved on to better games,now re-release san andreas with those graphics and we'll all be happy.(at least I would be)


phinch1 (on 19 December 2009)

maybe because they left out another potential 6+ million customers


kowenicki (on 19 December 2009)

I'm glad the story title was made more representative. But I still think the sales are good.


C_Hollomon (on 19 December 2009)

It's time for GTA5. People want a new game with better gameplay and new stuff. They should have known DLC wasn't going to sell like a full game.


binary solo (on 19 December 2009)

Gosh, selling a million is disappointing? Those extras must have made a reasonable profit for TT at that level of sales, I mean the development work for them must be cheap as. As a proportion of main game sales on 360 I guess it's a bit low, but if you compare with say ODST then 1 million is about 1/2 as good an attach rate to the main game.


ChichiriMuyo (on 19 December 2009)

Bageren, you should look at GTA4's sales. PS3 is pretty close to 45%. He's not that far off.


ChichiriMuyo (on 19 December 2009)

.jayderyu - I'd say the problem is, that if you bought GTA4 new at launch then bought the DLC you've just paid $100 for the same amount of game-play that San Andreas offered for $50. I know it cost a whole ton to make GTA4, but should people really have to pay $100 for the "full" experience or $60 for an experience much shallower than SA?


Zugdar (on 19 December 2009)

They took waaay to long to add the content. People long forgot about the game when they were released.


tio_coyote (on 19 December 2009)

GTA4 sucked in the first place,what were they expecting?


Bagaren85 (on 19 December 2009)

50%? Ehm.. yeah right. Looks like the low marketing and DLC vs Disc got its effect. Its a great release with two great games. 20hours for a nice price, thanks.


Boberman (on 18 December 2009)

It sounds like they are regretting ignoring 50% of the userbase


Crypto139 (on 18 December 2009)

What they are really saying is we should have gone PS3 too


gamefreak4ever (on 18 December 2009)

GTA is not a 1st party game for the 360 and so it hurt first of all and the releasing of the DLC so late wasn't a good idea either. Trust the PS3 not getting the DLC def made a difference. They should be happy with the 50 mil.


gurglesletch (on 18 December 2009)

Well its been over a year since the original launched.


FaRmLaNd (on 18 December 2009)

Its pretty obvious why it didn't do aswell. And they already alluded to it. They delayed it and people got tired of waiting. I know I did, I was going to buy both but I just got over it.


cande4me (on 18 December 2009)

@.jayderyu, so after you download a game how much money is that game worth? $0. A hard copy will always retain value.


cande4me (on 18 December 2009)

DLC is a gimmick to squeeze as much money out of us as possible. If you guys had any integrity you wouldn't try to keep charging us for the same game over and over. For $60+, just give us the full fucking game already. Assholes!


.jayderyu (on 18 December 2009)

Failure of the DLC was because of 360. The nature of GTA console player has shown very strong resistance to DLC. Notice how Fallout 3 doesn't have he same problem. That's because FO3 players aren't from the same market. They were already eased into it by various other games. Like Oblivion. While many FO3 players share GTA players. There is clearly a larger FO3 DLC consumers. It's going to be slow to ease the resistant and they have to feel it's worth it. Imprtantly those consumers will eventually understand that it means more gaming. At the moment that gamer type believes the money isn't worth it and would rather pay chunks of cash sporadicly. It will take time, but they will get there. DLC is the future. More gaming, less development easier on the waller. It's ultimatly convienent to everyone who is connected to online.


heruamon (on 18 December 2009)

Well...considering that they supposedly got $50 million...hmmm...why do I get the feeling that information was false?


evilronnie42 (on 18 December 2009)

i bought the first episode, regretting it already, barely play the normal gta4.lol


elzumo (on 18 December 2009)

Yet another case of unrealistic expectations.


Rawnchie14 (on 18 December 2009)

It's almost the same engine, with some bonuses... If they wanted sales of a brand new game, they should have marketed/sold it as such.


ManGamer79 (on 18 December 2009)

that's why developers should'nt do execlusive content when a game is one both systems, how much money did they lose by going 360 only If i made a game mulit-platform my content would be on both


kiefer23 (on 18 December 2009)

@rccsetzer I fail to see how your logic works.. The game sold much more on the Xbox 360 and DLC/Arcade games sell more on Xbox Live. They would have made more money if they released it multi-platform obviously, unless porting costs a bomb.


kiefer23 (on 18 December 2009)

It has nothing to do with the PS3. It sold poorly simply because they released them both too fucking long after the original game. They sat there with their thumbs up their ass for to long. I bought both on their respective launch days. I haven't got around to completing BoGT, the framerate is terrible and the entire game (-physics) seem incredibly outdated. It also doesn't help that 90% of the buyers realised just how boring and what little replay value the game actually had once they were finished with it. If they made it more like San Andreas (Saints Row) alot more players would still be playing it today. Thats my opinion. Sales aren't that disappointing anyway.


kunaixhaku (on 18 December 2009)

maybe cuz they ignored half their userbase where gta started and people grew up playing on...ya...remember the ps3...which i believe passed 6 million copies?


Xponent (on 18 December 2009)

Blame Nintendo


Wyku (on 18 December 2009)

I'm planning on buying the Episodes disc when it doesn't friggin' cost $50 (CDN). They should really make a GTA:IV with both episodes special edition version and sell THAT for $50 (or less).


MarshmallowMan (on 18 December 2009)

They would have likely had better sales if they didn't go 360 exclusive. That said, they got paid a boatload of money to go exclusive, so neither the developer nor Microsoft should be complaining. The only ones who can legitimately complain are PS3 users who would have liked the chance to buy more content. But most of them won't complain because they know that exclusive battles like this are what makes the console war go.


epinefridis (on 18 December 2009)

Τhe sales are disappointing? No dude. With all due respect, your "news" contribution IS disappointing... The few words you present here has NOTHING to do with YOUR title. There was a thread too. And it fails hard. Why should this one end up to the "news" section with this title? Maybe kindda "we expected more" or something... But DISSAPOINTING! A DLC that costed 50 freakin millions and GOT its money back??? I don' t know what else to say. The situation is a little of a dead end in this site in the last few months. Pity...


ChichiriMuyo (on 18 December 2009)

The fact that they tried to push DLC kinda shows they don't know how GTA players think. Any given GTA game has a ton of content to go through and a person can get hundreds of hours of play time out of it if that's their kind of game. How did they honestly expect to sell 15 hours of extended content for the core eperience at $20 when the audience is trained to pay $50-60 for 150+? The time and effort wasted on the DLC should have been put toward making a new expansion in a new setting a-la Vice City and it should have been pushed for multi-play release since that nearly doubles the potential audience.Sandbox and episodic content go together about as well as water an oil, and only being one of the biggest franchises ever afforded them the sales they've attained.


kowenicki (on 18 December 2009)

So he doesnt say the sales are "disappointing" anywhere and he does say he expects them to do well in the long run. Whatever he sayd the fact remains these have sold well andf if he expected a lot more then mabe he was deluded.


Triple Chix (on 18 December 2009)

GTA IV should have been released in September, then the first content in november and the next in february. The combo of the $199 360 and GTA IV would have been massive, then a double bump at christmas with the DLC. Also, the marketing was off at first... Instead of calling it DLC at the start they should have called it another game in the GTA IV world because that what it is....


Kennyheart (on 18 December 2009)

That sad.I wonder if this means when GTA 5 comes out all the dlc will be muti platform.


rccsetzer (on 18 December 2009)

It was not a good idea to launch (timed?) exclusive DLC content for Xbox360. They could have make much more money with PS3. They forgot where all the franchise's success started.


tfcnu (on 18 December 2009)

I have an older HD projection TV and I have the hardest time seeing my cell phone. Especially, when its day time in the game, its almost impossible. I've turned up the brightness on my TV, but then it ruins the rest of the games graphics. I quit playing the game because of the lack of oversite by the programmers. I have a friend who has a plasma TV and suffer similar problems with lost and the damned. He told me when viewing the map he has to walk up next to the tv to see where he's going because is in black and white. So when developer ruins the playability because you either can't see their menu or game guide it suits them right that their sales suck. I will not be buying the next installment.


SlipperyMooseCakes (on 18 December 2009)

In the interview they mentioned that the DLC was released too far away from the launch of GTAIV, and they're right. If more people had known what the DLC was going into the purchase of GTAIV launch, and if they had a sooner release date then the sales would have been much better. They had the right idea and the right content, just not the right release date.


KylieDog (on 18 December 2009)

I imagine people don't like paying extra for a lot of what was included on the disc in previous games that they removed in GTAIV.