Microsoft Expects Big Things From GTA IV on Xbox Live

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Microsoft says it expects Grand Theft Auto IV to drive a lot of new business to Xbox Live as the hot new release appears poised to dominate the popular online service.

Few non-shooter titles reach the top of the Xbox Live heap, which is typically ruled by games like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3, but the multiplayer component of the latest Grand Theft Auto release has drawn praise for its 15 game types that support up to 16 players. “The multiplayer in this game is so well implemented that I can’t imagine anyone owning a copy without trying to play it on Xbox Live,” Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.

GTA is unique because it appeals to such a large audience,” he continued. “It will likely be the best-selling game launched all year and we expect it will drive a lot of new members to Xbox Live.”

IDC analyst Billy Pidgeon said he discovered almost all of his friends playing the game online the night of its release, before they had a chance to get very far into the single-player mode. “This has the capabilities of being more popular online than Halo 3,” Pidgeon said. “I think the consoles, even more so than the PC, has the potential to have lots of different types of games be popular online. GTA is an important piece of that. It can lead the way online for a large contingent of players who don’t play first-person shooters.”

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