Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has commented on the recent delay of Grand Theft Auto IV, stating that he believes the reason it was pushed back is due to developer Rockstar experiencing complications in developing the PlayStation 3 iteration of the title.
“We think it is likely that the Rockstar team had difficulty in building an exceptionally complicated game for the PS3, and failed to recognise how far away from completion the game truly was until recently," offered Pachter.
Pachter also said he believes this acted as a precursor to delaying the Xbox 360 version, due publishers Take-Two having to maintain contractual arrangements with Sony which would deny them launching the game first on a rival machine. “We think it is also likely that Take-Two had a contractual commitment to Sony that it would not favour competitor Microsoft by launching the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV prior to launching the PS3 version, and believe that any delay of the PS3 version necessitated a delay of the Xbox 360 version," he said.
Furthermore, the analyst feels the publisher’s failure to recognise such development road blocks could potentially damage investor’s confidence in the firm:
“Take-Two management stumbled badly for the first time during their tenure”, added Pachter.
"While the delay of GTA IV was clearly not the fault of new management, we believe that it should have been better understood several months ago, and should have been communicated to investors much earlier than today. The company has begun an initiative to improve the green light process for new projects, but given the delays of Manhunt and GTA, its process for monitoring projects under development appears to be a failure," he concluded.
Sony Computer Entertainment and Take-Two declined to comment on any speculation.
It’s somewhat fitting that the ubiquitous Pachter – who himself earlier in the year actually predicted the delay of GTA IV – should feel obliged to comment on the reasons behind Rockstar’s decision to postpone what used to be one of the most anticipated releases of the year. While it’s conceivable that the PS3’s architecture may have presented some challenges, we feel more inclined to go with Pachters earlier predictions that lead us to believe Rockstar would rather have played it safe and spent a little more time on the game to ensure it’s inevitable quality. Indeed, this seems to be the case as far as the company itself is concerned. But remember folks – a Pachter prophecy isn’t always something to turn your nose at.