Market research firm Newzoo announced that they think that the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V will only be available via digital download, which consequently set the internet on fire with a slew of new rumors regarding Rockstar’s mysterious new game. The same research firm also claims that GTA V will be sold at retail, but that the box will not have a disc inside, but a download code.
Well known industry analyst Michael Pachter of competing analyst organization Wedbush Securities refutes Newzoo’s claim, citing data that suggests that with over 40% of Xbox 360’s sold are still using the original launch 20GB harddrives, or no hard drive at all, a digital only release of GTA V would effectively keep a large segment of gamers from having access to the game. Pachter further went on to claim that Newzoo’s predictions were completely without merit, and he emphatically stated that there was a zero percent chance that the game would be a digitally exclusive release.
While Pachter has made some infamously wrong predictions in the past (he once predicted that the PSP would outsell the iPod, which obviously never happened,) my money is with him this time– No sane publisher would release a game as huge as GTA V as a digital release only, at least not during this generation. A game that big (and that expensive to make,) still needs a full retail release to reach the widest audience possible, and Newzoo’s prediction seems like wild rumor mongering more than anything else. Just as with music and books, the day will come when digital distribution for games usurps the physical media market, but that’s likely not going to happen by the time GTA V hits.
Rockstar has yet to comment on all the speculation and rumors being spread around the internet, but we’ll find out more about the game — including what format it’ll be released on — when Rockstar formally unveils the game in just two more days.