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Microsoft: GTA IV will boost Live subscribers

Analyst agrees that Rockstar's latest could attract new consumers to online gaming

Microsoft has said that it expects the success of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV to boost the number of Xbox Live subscribers.

Released this week, the game has broken sales records in the UK, while Sony of America has claimed the game is helping to sell new PlayStation 3 hardware.

"GTA is unique because it appeals to such a large audience," commented Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox, reports Reuters.

"It will likely be the the best-selling game launched all year and we expect it will drive a lot of new members to Xbox Live."

Billy Pidgeon, IDC analyst, agrees that the game could eclipse the current Xbox Live favourite and attract consumers who aren't interested in first-person shooters – the dominant online genre.

"This has the capabilities of being more popular online than Halo 3," he said.

"I think the console, even more so than the PC, has the potential to have lots of different types of games be popular online. GTA is an important piece of that. It can lead the way online for a large contingent of players who don't play first-person shooters."

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