Critically acclaimed video game Grand Theft Auto (GTA) IV is on course to beat the record for highest first week sales of any video game in the UK.
The title sold a record 609,000 copies on its first day of release, generating an estimated Â£24.4m ($48.5m).
The previous record holder was GTA: San Andreas, which sold 501,000 copies in 24 hours in October 2004.
But despite its success the game has been hit by reports of software problems and crashes on some consoles.
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a sandbox style video game series created by Dave Jones and primarily developed by Scottish company Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and Rockstar Leeds in England and published by Rockstar Games.
The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, driving, and occasional role-playing, stealth and racing elements and has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent undertones. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonist in each game is commonly a character who has betrayed them or their organization or someone who has the most impact impeding their progress.
The series began in 1997 and currently has eight stand-alone games and two expansion packs for the original. Film veterans such as Michael Madsen, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, James Woods, Joe Pantoliano, Frank Vincent, Robert Loggia and Ray Liotta have all voiced major characters in many installments in the series. The name of the series and its games are derived from grand theft auto, a term referring to motor vehicle theft. By September 26, 2007, the Grand Theft Auto series had sold over 65 million units; as of March 26, 2008, the franchise has sold over 70 million copies worldwide according to Take-Two Interactive.
The latest installment of the series, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released on April 29, 2008, after a six month delay. It was the first Grand Theft Auto game to be released simultaneously on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. GTA IV’s game engine is the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (also known as RAGE) used in Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis. The game once again takes place in a redesigned Liberty City that very closely resembles New York City, much more than previous renditions.
It has been confirmed that episodic content will be released exclusively for the Xbox 360. Microsoft officially announced a “strategic alliance” with Rockstar Games over the rights to some episodic content through their Xbox Live service at their X06 event. Times Online reported that Grand Theft Auto IV recorded 609,000 copies in first-day sales, in the UK.