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E3 Notebook: Let the Games Begin

But Microsoft made the deal seem a lot bigger than it really was.

Unspoken, but heavily implied by Peter Moore, the company's corporate vice president in charge of its games effort, was that Microsoft had some kind of exclusive on Grand Theft Auto, i.e. that GTA IV would come out on the Xbox 360 before it came out on the PlayStation 3 -- or any other console.

Indeed, a Microsoft press representative told me after the media event that because the Xbox 360 would be the only next-generation console on the market at the time Grand Theft Auto IV launches in October 2007, it would be the only next-generation console to have the title.

Moreover, Moore seemed to be emphasizing the notion of a special agreement. As part of their deal, Take-Two will release "exclusive episodic content" for the Xbox 360 via Microsoft's Xbox Live online service. Again, the implication -- backed up explicitly by the company's press representative afterward -- was not only that Microsoft would be getting content for the Xbox 360 that gamers won't find anywhere else, but that it would be getting Grand Theft Auto add-ons that gamers won't be able to get on the PlayStation 3.

Well, not so fast.

At least according to Take-Two -- whom you would presume would know these things -- Microsoft is not getting any kind of exclusive on anything. According to Take-Two spokesman Jim Ankner, the game publisher will release Grand Theft Auto IV for the PlayStation 3 on the same day that it releases it for the Xbox 360. Not only that, but Take-Two has pointedly not disclosed what kind of "episodic content" it will be releasing, and whatever it is, the company has not agreed to make any of that add-on content exclusive to the Xbox 360, according to Ankner.

In other words, the add-ons may or may not be for Grand Theft Auto IV, and when they come out, they likely will be available for the PlayStation 3 as well.
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