The console war between the PS3 and the Xbox 360 is heating up daily. And this week Microsoft Game Studios boss, Shane Kim, has come out with some fightin' words with regard to the imminent launch of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV. He claims that the launch of GTA IV could be a deciding factor in which console wins the sales battle in the long-run.

Kim told Wired that Microsoft sees the latest GTA game as a key battleground for the two consoles. "We already own it, I believe, from a content standpoint, because we have the exclusive episodes," he said.

"And so Xbox 360 is still going to have the ultimate experience for GTA IV. But we have to make sure the customers know that. Especially if you look back, again, to the role of GTA III and what that played in terms of PS2's development - in Europe as well, because it was huge in Europe.

"That's a great opportunity for us. We need to take advantage of it."

Massive franchise

From what he said, it’s obvious that Microsoft is preparing itself for a real battle over the next few months. GTA IV has a very good chance of being the best selling game of the year, partly because the franchise is hugely popular. But also because it’s a cross-platform title, and will thus be available for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

"[Sony has] good equity in Europe. They've done a good job of ingraining Sony into the fabric of people's lives, in a broader sense. And so that means you just have to work harder.



"Even though we've managed to do a good job in terms of getting the game day and date, people will - if you just let things roll - still associate Grand Theft Auto with a PlayStation franchise. Which means that we have to work really hard to make people understand that no, it's not, and that you'll actually get a greater experience on Xbox 360."

So, will GTA IV help the Xbox 360 defeat the PS3 in this current generation of gaming? Will the PS3 fight back? We’ll just have to wait and see.