‘Grand’ game franchise

Microsoft pays $50 million for download rights

Just how much is one of the videogame industry’s biggest franchises worth?

About $50 million, according to Microsoft, which paid that much to “Grand Theft Auto” publisher Take Two Interactive for exclusive downloadable content related to “Grand Theft Auto IV,” which comes out in October.

Take Two reported the figure, which is presumably an advance against its share of reve-nue from gamers who download the extra “chapters” via Micro-soft’s Xbox Live service, in a recent earnings report.

The huge advance, more than twice what it costs to produce the typical videogame, dem-onstrates just how big “GTA” has become and how important it is to Microsoft to have exclu-sive content for its Xbox 360 that isn’t available on Sony’s PlayStation 3 or the Nintendo Wii.

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