'Grand Theft Auto' kicks off video-game race
New York Times News Service
You might still be figuring out Halloween plans, but for video-game companies, it's the beginning of the most wonderful retail time of the year.
The race started Tuesday with the scheduled release of the recently leaked and highly anticipated "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," the latest in game publisher Take-Two Interactive's street-crime franchise, which has sold more than 32 million units to date and has been one of the most notorious players in the controversy over video-game violence.
Holiday business typically accounts for 60 percent of annual sales for makers of games and related hardware. With U.S. game software sales expected to hit $8.3 billion this year, research company Yankee Group says, the potential spoils are huge.
Microsoft weighs in Nov. 9 with "Halo 2," the sequel to the shooting game that helped establish the company's Xbox console as a legitimate contender to Sony's PlayStation2 and Nintendo's GameCube.
Nintendo lobs its own salvo Nov. 21 with the DS, a dual-screen handheld game player intended to expand the portable gaming market, which the company already dominates with its Game Boy Advance.
For PC gamers, the big news will be "Half-Life 2," the long delayed sequel to the breakthrough shooting game. Throw in a handful of other high-profile titles, including new versions of "Metal Gear Solid" for the PlayStation2 and Nintendo's "Metroid" shooting game for GameCube.