Niko Bellic and company soar towards the half billion USD mark.

Pundits were itching to see a battle between Iron Man and Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV) last week. Some predicted that GTA IV would take a chunk out of Iron Man ticket sales, but that didn't turn out to be the case -- Iron Man managed to rack up over $100M during its first three-day weekend.

GTA IV also had a stellar opening and surpassed the lofty estimates that were thrown about for the past few weeks. Early estimates opined that GTA IV would generate $400M in sales during its first week. According to Take-Two, however, GTA IV pulled in a whopping $310M globally during the first 24 hours of availability and brought in $500M during its first week.

3.6M units were sold on opening day and more than 6M units were sold during the first week.

"We knew Grand Theft Auto IV would break new ground in terms of the player's experience, with its compelling story line, extraordinary gameplay and action that ranges over a broad urban canvas. Now, it has broken sales and rating records as well," said Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick. "Grand Theft Auto IV's first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date."

The huge opening for GTA IV is no doubt attributable to the growing anticipation for the game once the initial delay was announced last fall along with the steady trickle of information relating to the game’s mechanics, story, and gameplay that was brought to the public's attention.

It also helped that nearly every gaming review site around the globe gave GTA IV a perfect or near-perfect score which further piqued the interests of potential buyers who may have been sitting on the fence.

Given the resounding success of GTA IV during its opening day and week, it should be interesting to see how Electronics Arts repositions itself in its bid to purchase Take-Two.

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