Will GTA 5 affect sales of Xbox One and PS4?
Grand Theft Auto 5 is easily one of the biggest, most anticipated games of 2013. The only problem is it's only releasing on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. With Sony and Microsoft making a push this holiday season to introduce their next-gen consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One respectively, analysts are at odds over whether or not GTA 5's current-gen exclusivity will hinder the sales of these new consoles.
"I don't think it will have a material impact on console sales," Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said. "Consoles launch at the same time as big games all the time, it's part of the ecosystem. If anything, I think that its lack of availability on next generation consoles could limit catalog sales of GTA next year, but it's pretty early to be making that call."
EEDAR's Jesse Divnich agreed, claiming the PS4 and Xbox One will both have a very strong holiday launch: "Even with the hype of E3 being in our rear view mirror, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One continue to stay at the top of the charts on Amazon.com. Consumers are clearly excited for the next generation of consoles to launch.
"I don't foresee one current generation game, no matter how large it is, impacting the start of the next generation of consoles," he explained. "The launch of the next generation consoles are likely to have an impact on current generation sales this holiday season. It's a transitional year, it is to be expected, and we anticipate an overall net gain for the industry because of it. But September releases are far enough away from the blast radius of the new console launches that September releases shouldn't feel the squeeze."
Not every analyst is as optimistic though. IDC research manager Lewis Ward pointed out to GamesIndustry that "purchase intent for Xbox One and PS4 isn't as high as it could be."
"We did a survey of 25 countries in 2Q13 and one the surprising takeaways was that demand for new consoles isn't shaping up to be particularly strong in the US this holiday season. In fact, the US landed in the bottom 5 when viewed from the perspective of the share of console gamers that indicated they're likely to buy a new console in the next 12 months," Ward said.
"That says to me that a lot of gamers are going to stick by their Xbox 360s, Wii/Wii Us, and PS3s at least until the 2014 holiday season, when the game catalog will be a lot bigger and some of the online kinks will have been worked out."
While this could be viewed as a problem for next-gen consoles, Sony is in a good position to take advantage of the already established PS3 consumer base. The catalog of upcoming PS3 games is just as good, if not better, than what the PS4 will offer. Looking down the road, Sony has a number of solid PS3 titles coming including, Beyond: Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, and the newly announced Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus.
Addressing GTA 5 and gamers' commitment to the current-gen, Ward continued: "That also means that games like GTA 5 should have plenty of runway to sell well in the meantime, as long as they deliver the goods."
Judging solely on pre-order availability (or unavailability depending on the retailer) it certainly doesn't seem like Grand Theft Auto 5 is hurting Xbox One and PS4 sales. Amazon has already sold out of launch-day Xbox One and PS4 systems, and Best Buy recently stopped taking pre-orders for the Xbox One. Additionally, the once-opened floodgates for the PS4 at GameStop are now closed. At the same time, we don't know how many launch-day units were allocated for each retailer, so it's hard to estimate exactly how many of each system is selling -- but at least we know they are selling the ones they have.
Will GTA 5's September 17th launch affect your decision to purchase a next-gen console?