Grand Theft Auto 6 hasn't even been officially announced by Rockstar Games yet, but it's already shaping up to be the most anticipated next-generation game launch to-date ... despite that fact that there's almost no chance it'll launch alongside next-gen consoles later this year.
Recent rumors, however, claim that Sony Interactive Entertainment is attempting to secure GTA 6 as a timed exclusive for the upcoming PlayStation 5 to boost sales for the next-gen console, which would be devastating for Microsoft's Xbox Series X. The details of this alleged Sony-Rockstar partnership are extremely suspicious, which leads Inverse to believe these specific rumors are baseless. But there's every reason to believe that an exclusive release of GTA 6 on the PS5 is possible based on past GTA launches.
YouTuber Foxy UK Games claimed that he caught wind of a $750,000,000 deal being brokered between Sony and Rockstar to secure a 30-day exclusive launch of GTA 6 on the PS5 in a video he uploaded on August 10. While an exclusive launch of GTA 6 on the PS5 would be a major win for Sony, the price tag attached to this rumor is absolutely ludicrous especially since it wouldn't even be a PS5 launch title.
GTA 6 was reported to be early in development, and Rockstar plans to continue supporting the current version of GTA Online well into 2021. There's absolutely no chance GTA 6 will be released when the PS5 launches during the 2020 holidays, meaning Sony wouldn't be able to capitalize on the hype around GTA 6 to get gamers to buy the PS5 at launch instead of the Xbox Series X.
To make matters worse for this rumor, a $750 million deal would eviscerate Sony's corporate wallet.
Sony's PlayStation business earned $1.15 billion in profits during the first financial quarter of 2020, the company announced during an August 4 earnings report. That was the most that PlayStation has ever earned in the first quarter of a year in Sony's entire history. The alleged $750 million GTA 6 deal would cost Sony 65 percent of its record-breaking PS profits. And for what? A measly month of exclusivity on a multiplatform game?
To put this in perspective, it's estimated that it cost Sony somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million to create The Last of Us Part II. Spending $750 million on securing a month of GTA 6 exclusivity would cost them more than seven times the development of TLOU 2. They could instead invest that money in at least seven big-budget AAA games.
In other words, this deal is not happening under the terms outlined by Foxy UK Games, but some alternate version with a very different price tag attached seems impossible.
The Inverse Analysis — GTA 3, GTA Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas all launched on Sony consoles months before they were released on the Xbox and PC. Rockstar launched GTA 4 on the PS3 and Xbox 360 simultaneously, ending Sony's streak of timed exclusivity for the franchise.
Industry analyst Michael Pachter told Eurogamer in 2010 that Microsoft had paid Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, $75 million to stop GTA's PS exclusivity. But could Sony try to forge another deal with the GTA-creator to pull ahead in the hotly contested, next-gen console war?
Technically, Microsoft has more money to throw around than Sony does for these kinds of big-budget deals. Plus with both consoles sorely lacking a monumental launch title, it's becoming incredibly likely that one of the two might try to secure timed exclusivity of GTA 6 to pull ahead.
Could history repeat itself and see GTA 6 released exclusively on the PS5 out of the gate? Or could Microsoft outbid Sony for a timed-exclusive launch of GTA 6 on the Series X after the delay of Halo Infinite? We'll need to wait until the announcement of Rockstar's next big open-world adventure to be sure.
GTA 6 is currently in development.