Sony and Microsoft Wage War of Words over GTA IV Sales

Back in the day, disputes were decided on the battlefield, with the losers not only giving up territory, but generally relocating to graveyards, where they’d stay for some time. In this modern industrial age, though, it’s all about the post-conflict trash talk. On Xbox Live, you may want to send that annoying 12 year old to an early grave, but it’s illegal and mostly-pointless. And let’s face it: kid’s got skill.

However, in other sectors of the gaming industry, trash talk reaches further than the ears of 15 or so gamers who just had their asses handed to them by a 12 year old. Normally, this kind of trash talk is reserved for the monthly NPD numbers, but thanks to GTA IV, Christmas came early this month. Microsoft, having been responsible for 64% of GTA IV’s sales (according to Gamestop sales data acquired by the illustrious N’Gai Croal), was understandbly ecstatic and, as you can imagine, was unable to resist the overpowering urge to gloat.

“These sales results add GTA IV to a long list of franchises that have switched over from Playstation to find a new home on Xbox 360 similar to what happened last year with titles like Madden and Guitar Hero,” said Microsoft’s Aaron Greenburg.

But Sony isn’t the kind of company to turn down an invitation to a battle of hubris wits, so their response was quick and fierce.

“If I had an installed base advantage of 3-1,” he says “I wouldn’t be crowing too much about a 60-40 sales advantage,” Peter Dille, senior VP of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment, replied. “With an installed base lead that’s close to 3-1, if you’re bragging about a 60-40 software split, it’s clear evidence that the Playstation 3 consumer is overindexing on GTA IV, and the Playstation brand loyalty that we’ve been talking about is bearing itself out in the marketplace as we speak.”

Normally, this is the part where fisticuffs are exchanged and chairs go soaring through the air, but this isn’t daytime television the 21st century.

As with any contest, however, the real question here is: who won? Both and niether. Microsoft sold more, and their exclusive DLC will probably rake in some more cash come this fall, but Sony did a respectable job in the face of Microsoft’s numerous advantages. If nothing else, these sales figures show that the console war won’t cease to be interesting anytime soon. And remember kids, the NPDs are only a few days away!