GTA IV date up in the air

Christmas not crucial, says T2.

Take Two has refused to narrow down a release period for Grand Theft Auto IV and will stay quiet until it is "utterly convinced" the game is ready, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

Most recently the publisher said it would be out between February and April next year, following news it had slipped from its expected October 2007 launch.

"It's a fair question given that we weren't able to stick to our firm date the last time. We're going to give a firm date when we are utterly convinced that we have it and that isn't right now," said Take Two chairman Strauss Zelnick during a BMO Capital Markets conference yesterday.

"We know it's highly anticipated. Right now our view is to put out a high quality title and we're not in the business of disappointing investors," he continued, obscuring copies of Manhunt 2.

Zelnick went on to reassure share-holders that missing Christmas was not a problem, and believed releasing to larger installed bases next year with its "must-have" title would alleviate concerns.

"I think there was a concern initially when we slipped that we missed the boat in terms of Christmas but I think that concern has been alleviated," said Zelnick.

"I think most people see it as okay - hardware penetration is going to grow over Christmas and because this is a must-have title it's probably okay that we're not selling it in the Christmas season."

Zelnick also said that the exclusive downloadable content for Gran Theft Auto IV would not play a very significant role in generating revenue for the company in 2008, but it was a business model the publisher is keen to pursue in the future.

"It actually isn't really significant in terms of its contribution in 2008," he offered.

"It's something we ought to be doing and my guess is that's where the industry is going. If you believe over time that packaged goods will be supplemented very much with online downloadable content, and you believe as I do that the future of playing interactive entertainment is networked multiplayer, then there's every reason to believe that downloadable content makes all kinds of sense.

"And eventually if you have a packaged good and you sell upgrades it's a pretty terrific business model for everyone. I think it could be really interesting, but to be clear, it's not in our plans and we're not relying on it for our success," he concluded.

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