No, idiots, GTA 6 is not going to be a PlayStation exclusive

In late February 2019 an anonymous game developer posted a leak on Pastebin. They claimed to be employed by a small studio contracting on a PS5 launch title.

I’m a third party small developer from EU,for the last 8 months i’ve been helping a well known company in a AAA game development that is set to release in 2020 as a lunch game for PS5.

Some infos that i’d like to share that are 99% correct(i say 99% because small incremental hardware change can occur till 2020,although specs are set in stone).

Pastebin leak

Most of this leak has proven to be true or true-ish – including the PS5 launch month, price, and GT7 with VR, for example. Although I should point out that this could also be the result of well educated guesses, I do think it’s safe to assume the poster did have some inside knowledge.

This Pastebin post is also the originating source of the persistent rumours/hopes that GTA 6 will launch as a timed PlayStation exclusive:

Gta 6 Holiday 2020 most probably,not hearing anything ps4 related (hearing that Sony is paying huge money to secure 1 month time exclusive for ps5).

Pastebin leak

For context: The lead-up to the launch of the PS5 handed us a few interesting examples of hype… like the Spiderman announcement for Marvel’s Avengers (lol), or Imran Khan mentioning a rumour of huge PlayStation moneyhats:

There are things you will be shocked to find out that Sony is moneyhatting. That they are locking up for timed exclusivity of, like, “wow, that is a game you are choosing?” Not because it’s bad, because it’s huge. So I am interested to see where this conversation is going to be in a couple of months, because there are games that are widely accepted as multiplatform that Sony is locking up for a little while.

Imran Khan appearing on Kinda Funny Games Daily

So now we have a feedback loop: Sony announcing Spiderman exclusivity for Avengers, and then more rumours of huge 3rd party exclusives.

Of course, since then the GTA rumour continued to bounce around, to the point we’re still hearing it even today, as we get closer to this year’s PlayStation Showcase.

So why do I think this is obviously not happening?

The most obvious one is simple: It would cost an epic shit-ton of money.

I know PlayStation makes a lot of money, but you need return on investment if you’re the buyer, and the dollars need to be enough if you’re the seller.

GTA V made one billion dollars in its first three days, so right there we have a baseline to work from. Sony have sold about 32M PS5s and Xbox has (according to analysts) sold around ~19M. With that in mind, what would be a meaningful amount to get Rockstar to leave 32% of its launch revenue on the table?

But, of course, 3 days exclusivity is awful return on investment. What would be more realistic value for Sony? 2 weeks? Perhaps? A month? So now we’re looking at maybe $700M for an exclusivity deal? Perhaps even $1B???

At this scale, the amount required for good ROI becomes prohibitive.

Would a $1B deal get you $1B worth of value? How many extra PS5s would you sell?

And this is all just basing our thought exercise on GTA V’s launch performance from 2013. Many observers are predicting GTA 6 might close in on $2B over its launch week.

So the dollars obviously don’t make sense, but let’s look at that original pastebin quote again:

Gta 6 Holiday 2020 most probably,not hearing anything ps4 related (hearing that Sony is paying huge money to secure 1 month time exclusive for ps5).

Pastebin leak

That was simply not correct. GTA 6 has still not even been officially announced yet, so 2020 was quite obviously never happening. But with the leaker seemingly being well informed, how did they get this one so mixed up?

Well, in June 2020 Sony kicked off their PlayStation event with the announcement that GTA V was coming to next-gen consoles in 2021 and all PS5 owners would be able to claim GTA Online for free on the PS5 for the first three months after next gen launch.

So there’s your money hat and exclusive period, and the likely source of the confusion. GTA 6? Nope.

Some bonus crap:

  • I do expect PlayStation will get the GTA 6 marketing deal, and along with it some bonuses for PS5 players – missions, items, maybe some early access for the eventual new Online mode.
  • Don’t expect GTA 6 to be revealed at the Sony Showcase. R* haven’t officially announced a game at a third party event since 2006.
  • Prediction: GTA 6 will be announced in the 2nd half of 2023 with a targeted release date of Sept-Nov 2024 (Bonus prediction: It’ll slip to 2025).
  • Imran Khan’s rumour of that huge moneyhat didn’t seem to materialise. The general thought around this is that PlayStation were attempting to get Starfield. Hilariously, the idea that PlayStation might lock up Call of Duty exclusivity elicited a very mild response on Reddit at the time.