An interesting read on 1UP following those most recent Take Two announcements.
Our favorite Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is predicting that GTA 5 will be released this year. You'll recognize his name from earlier posts, he's the same gentleman who made the prediction that Cataclysm sales alone would push Blizzard's Earnings well over $600 million for this past quarter (that was only for Cataclysm sales during a one month period too, and excluded pet sales, older WoW sales, and Paid Services. In fact, it probably would have been a prediction of $350 million plus the usual $300 million subs if they were included.)
Oh! A while back, Pachter also predicted GTA 5 would be released in 2010. =]
Here were some of his other past predictions/comments:
1. Mafia II unlikely to be profitable and would not recoup the cost of game development. (Source)
Take Two still has DLC development underway for Mafia II this year. On Steam, it was in the Top 10 of best selling games for 2010 (even though Mafia II came out just 4 months before the end of the year.)
2. Starcraft 2 would sell 6 million units on opening day, however it ended up being 1.5 million instead. (By the end of the first month, they sold 3 million units worldwide and by end of February they sold 4.5 million units.)
After first day sales were released by Blizzard, he adjusted his prediction and made it 5 million total copies within 2-3 months. However, it took 7 months before it reached 4.5 million units. =]
I didn't think it was really fair though, making such a big change after seeing all of the sales details. Not that it helped either though..
3. He was highly skeptical of Red Dead Redemption, and stated that it was not blockbuster material.
4. On a related note, he's predicting that LA Noire will be comparable in sales and just as successful as Red Dead Redemption (after he apologized for underestimating RDR in the first place.)
Personally, I have my doubts about LA Noire though.. it looks like a great game, but it's like releasing a natural disaster movie in the middle of vampire film/TV season. I've been watching Google/Twitter trends and monitoring other various patterns, but there's very little interest in LA Noire so far (especially in comparison to other big name releases coming out during the same period).
I'm worried that the game might end up being too linear or storyline driven, with most of the game taking place with cut scenes and NPC interaction (after all, they spent a lot of time and money on voice acting and facial imaging). If there are too many NPC conversations and detective mini-games that are impossible to lose, it takes away from the freedom and excitement of exploring in RDR and GTA. What if there's little in the way of side quests (errr... "investigations") and everything in the game is based on one single storyline or one investigation after the other? Then it just becomes an interactive visual novel.
The other thing that worries me is that people are mostly talking about how "great it looks", but very little about the actual gameplay, story, characters or music. I still think first month's hypetastic sales will be very good mind you (I'm predicting ~2.5 million worldwide for the first month), but I don't think they will be as high as RDR in the long run. I also think Michael Pachter will be left disappointed with his own sales predictions. =] Hopefully, Team Bondi is developing a very stable game too.. this game is going to make or break them.
5. He thought that Ubisoft DRM was a good idea.
6. He said Borderlands would fail badly.
7. He's predicting that the Activision-Bungie game will sell 10-15 million on opening day. I'll have to come back to this one at a much later date.
His predictions, of course, have a lot of IF's and BUT's. IF it's as popular as Halo, IF it's released on multiple platforms, IF they have a good sales day.. blah blah blah. Come on, where's the hard science and figures?
From what I've seen online, he wasn't too bad going back 5-7+ years ago but things have gone very bad for him since late 2008. So, it's probably a good idea for him to leave his predictions more open ended like he did with the Activision/Bungie unannounced game.