WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Game launch set to blight Iron Man

The level of criticism aimed at the eagerly awaited launch of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA) was minuscule compared with other computer games that are repĀ­uted to glorify violence.

This was des­pite Hillary Clinton's assertion that ‘the disturbing material is stealing the inno­cence of our children' (The Independent, 29 April).

The Times end­orsed its creators as a British company that ‘deserves to go on flourishing as long as it ret­ains the knack of testing social limits without breaking them' (26 April).

Several articles claimed the game is now an ent­er­tainment force to rival Hollywood films and that, in a difficult financial environment, the longevity of game playing could replace cin­ema visits.

The next big film release, Iron Man, is likely to be overshadowed by GTA IV, ‘a brutal and satirical masterpiece equal to films such as The Godfather' (The Guardian, 29 April).

Steven Spielberg is working on three games for rival EA. The BBC said the launch was ‘more like a cultural event than a marketing event' (bbc.co.uk, 28 April).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

WHAT THE BLOGS SAY: GTA IV released to rave reviews

Bloggers were positively giddy with anticipation in the run up to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV this week. Many announced they were taking the day off work, so they could devote the whole night to playing it, following the game’s midnight release.

If the level of criticism in the papers was miniscule, it was more or less non-existent in the blogosphere. The predominant topic of discussion was the game’s availability, with many fearing it would be sold out before they could get their copy, or near-violence as their pre-ordered copies had not arrived on time.

Particular venom was reserved for suppliers such as Gameplay and Game, who, according to some, had advised customers that their copies had been dispatched before they actually were.

A number of bloggers declared, presumably in jest, that they would be prepared to steal a car if it would help them get their hands on a copy.

Discussion about the actual gameplay and new features was surprisingly limited – evidently most people were already convinced that the new release wouldn’t disappoint. Those who did comment focused on the game’s improved graphics, new storyline and multiplayer feature, and the few who had already played it assured the rest that it was well worth the hype.

Analysis conducted by Nielsen Online from a source of over 70 million blogs www.nielsen-online.com




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