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'Grand Theft Auto IV' nets Guinness record

The hit game nets a new honor and breaks a record held previously by the last Harry Potter book.

If worldwide headlines about the record-setting first-day and first-week sales of Grand Theft Auto IV weren't enough, the game's publisher and its developer, Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, now have a Guinness world record to boot.

On Tuesday morning, Guinness issued a press release certifying the game's insanely profitable launch as the entertainment industry's best ever for one day ($310 million) and one week ($500 million).

Interestingly, in stories I've written about this previously, I wrote that GTA IV had broken the single-day record of $170 million previously held by Bungie Studio's Xbox 360 game, Halo 3. In many stories, by both me and others, it has been exhaustively pointed out that the best video game launches had far outdone those by the best films.

According to the Guinness release, however, the previous record was actually not a video game at all. Rather, it was J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, the final book in that cash-cow series, which when it launched last July, earned $220 million in its first 24 hours.

If this is true, then Microsoft--which owned Bungie at the time--was wrong when it touted the first-day sales of Halo 3 as the then-best entertainment-industry launch.

Funny that despite the incredible sales of the last Harry Potter, no one, myself included, had thought to include books on the list of best launches.

Well, no matter. Now, even that record has fallen to the might of the GTA IV machine.

Humorously, as part of its release, Guinness is hawking its new Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008, obviously trying to tie the GTA IV record to the new book. It's a natural link to make, of course, although the book was published before the new record.

I have the book, and it's kind of fun. There's a lot of interesting video game trivia, obscure records, and much more.

But, alas, no mention of the GTA IV record.

On June 10, Geek Gestalt hits the highways for Road Trip 2008. I'll start in Orlando, Fla., and visit many of the South's most interesting destinations. Stay tuned, and be sure to keep up, both now and during the trip, with what I'm doing on Twitter.