Which game will sell better this year: “Halo 3” or “Grand Theft Auto 4”? That’s what I’ve been wondering after reading a Goldman Sachs report out today that says Microsoft was making a strategic play when it chose Sept. 25 as the official release date for “Halo 3.” That’s nearly a month before the Oct. 16 release of “Grand Theft Auto 4” for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
The audience for the two games is similar, the analysts say, and so a person buying “Halo 3” will probably buy “GTA4” for the Xbox 360. Microsoft is trying to increase sales of the Xbox 360 and cut into PS3 sales, according to the report.
Microsoft also needed to launch “Halo 3” about a month ahead of “GTA4” in order to mitigate competition between the two titles and allow time later in the fall for other titles to launch, a more partner friendly strategy.
Microsoft executives say they expect the launch of “Halo 3” to be as big an entertainment event as the release of the last “Harry Potter” book and the opening of “Pirates of the Caribbean 3.” But how does the “Halo 3” launch stack up next to “GTA4”?
I put my money on “GTA4” because it will be out on two consoles. But an informal poll of my friends gives the advantage to “Halo 3.” What do you think?