If you needed proof that video games are now very big business, look no further that the launch overnight on Tuesday of the new Grand Theft Auto IV game.
Enthusiasts lined up at stores in Australia and around the world for the game in which players try and make their way by performing various nefarious acts as part of a crime syndicate.
Grand Theft Auto IV is expected to achieve first week sales of around $US400 million, surpassing last year’s Halo 3 release as the biggest grossing game in its first week.
But it is not just game players that are excited – such is the hype surrounding the release of the game that it is already sending ripples through corporate world.
The company that produced Grand Theft Auto IV, Take-Two Interactive Software, is currently facing a takeover bid from game development giant Electronic Arts. Strong early sales of the game are expected to bolster Take-Two’s claim that EA’s bid is too low, and could force it to come back with a higher bid.
In fact, even though we are yet to see any sales figures for the game, it looks like it is already having that effect. Reuters reports that in the lead-up to the release of the game Take-Two shares jumped US16 cents to close at $US26.63 on Nasdaq, pushing further past EA’s offer price of $25.74 per share.