Better late than never, PS3 and PC gamers can finally look forward to their own versions of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable expansions this March.
Formerly exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox 360, The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony will both be available for download from the PlayStation Network and Games for WIndows LIVE on March 30. They'll also be available on a single disc and dubbed Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, same as they're sold today on the Xbox 360.
Windows players will see a bump from 16 up to 32-player multiplayer and an "advanced video editor," while both versions include new songs distributed across all of Liberty City's 13 in-game radio stations.
How much did Microsoft pay for its one year exclusive on the content? $50 million, reportedly. The Lost and The Damned debuted on Xbox LIVE in February 2009 for US$20, followed by The Ballad of Gay Tony for another US$20 in October. A retail compilation containing both expansions was also offered in October for US$40. It's unclear how many copies Microsoft sold in total, but the company called the first pack its most successful game add-on ever following the February launch, and given the series pedigree, I'd bet "a whole bunch" comes close.
Even if Microsoft didn't for some reason recoup its investment, it's hard to argue with the soft value of system exclusivity on content this high profile. Gamers who wanted the whole enchilada, story-wise, had one console option these last 12 months.
"It's been a long time coming, but we are proud to finally deliver Episodes From Liberty City for the PC and PlayStation 3," said Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser. "We appreciate the patience of our PlayStation 3 and PC fans worldwide, and we look forward to putting the games in your hands this March."
I'm sure "patience" is putting it politely for some of you. Yay free markets, but I've never been much for timed exclusives. They're not terribly customer-friendly (the 'customers' in this case being the Grand Theft Auto fan base) and if this was just Rockstar's way of staggering its multi-platform workload, then why'd the "favor" cost Microsoft so much?
Anyway, Rockstar describes both expansions as "the final chapters of the award winning Grand Theft Auto tale" in the press release.