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GTA4 for PS3 and X360

Simultaneously.

For those of you wondering why no Grand Theft Auto announcement materialised in Sony's pre-E3 conference yesterday, Microsoft answered the question tonight by confirming the game will ship simultaneously for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Microsoft honcho Peter Moore took great delight in revealing the news, showing off a fake tattoo in homage to his Halo 2 release date "stain" in 2004.

"Few franchises have had the profound impact on our industry as Grand Theft Auto," said Moore. "Gamers can't wait to play Grand Theft Auto IV in high definition on Xbox 360, and we couldn't be more excited to have the title on our platform from day one."

Rockstar's confirmed street dates for the crime title, which will release in America on October 16 2007. The PAL version hits three days later on October 19. That's next year, mind you take note.

While Rockstar was comfortable enough to give Microsoft the glory of announcing the game, details were completely non-existent. A press release emerged after the conference, saying only that "Grand Theft Auto IV, the next-generation console debut of the genre-defining Grand Theft Auto franchise" is "developed by world-class designers Rockstar North," and would be made available simultaneously for the two consoles.

Separately, Microsoft and Rockstar announced a deal this evening that will see the GTA publisher distributing "exclusive" episodic content via Xbox Live. While specific projects remain unannounced, Microsoft said the deal would allow Rockstar to provide Xbox 360 owners with "ever-expanding gameplay experiences". Extra cities for your brutalising, anyone? Microsoft described the deal as involving "exclusive Rockstar games."

"Through Xbox Live, we have a unique opportunity to reach out to our audience in new ways," added Rockstar boss, Sam Houser. "This strategic alliance allows us to craft experiences that fully leverage the on-demand distribution power and sheer size of Xbox Live."

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