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GTA V gets caught up in next-gen console talk

The game, which is now slated to launch in September, could either be negatively affected by next-generation consoles or take advantage of them.

Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most anticipated game launches of 2013, but right now, its actual release date is the subject of debate in the gaming business.

Take-Two Interactive, the company publishing Grand Theft Auto V, announced last week that the title will launch September 17. Soon after, gamers and analysts speculated if the launch delay (the game was supposed to be available in the spring) could have something to do with Take-Two planning to deliver the title to next-generation consoles.

Speculation abounds that either Microsoft or Sony -- or both -- could launch their next-generation consoles toward the end of this year. By delaying Grand Theft Auto V to September, some say, Take-Two is positioning itself to launch the game on both current and next-gen consoles at or around the same time.

During an earnings call yesterday, Take-Two chief Strauss Zelnick reportedly told analysts that the expected launch of next-generation consoles had no bearing on his company's decision to delay Grand Theft Auto V.

"The delay is required to deliver what people expect," Zelnick said during his company's earnings call yesterday, according to Venturebeat.

If the move is not designed to take advantage of next-generation consoles, some wonder if it will hurt Grand Theft Auto V sales. Those folks reason that because new consoles will be available soon after Grand Theft Auto V's launch, consumers might hold onto their cash and use it on next-generation products.

"While we believe that few gamers who intend to purchase GTA will hold off their purchases at launch, many next-generation consoles will be bought over the next two years (beginning with the likely launch of the PS4 in October [2013]), and those purchasers will be less likely to purchase a current generation game once they have become a next-generation household," Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter wrote today in a research note to investors. "We think that the launch of next-generation consoles shortly after the release of GTA V could impact ongoing sales in 2014 and beyond."

Zelnick, however, isn't so sure it'll impact Grand Theft Auto V's sales.

"There is not one gamer who is going to sit out Grand Theft Auto V hoping that something down the road will be better," Zelnick said, according to Venturebeat.