Microsoft paid $50 million for the two exclusive GTA4 episodes. First Xbox 360 episode in March 2008.

Pre-order Grand Theft Auto IV for Xbox 360Word has just gotten out that Microsoft is paying an unprecedented $50 million for exclusive rights to publish two episodes of the upcoming action game, Grand Theft Auto 4 on Xbox 360, according to statements from a senior executive at GTA4 publisher, Take-Two Interactive.

This was unveiled when Take-Two recorded the payments in its financial filings as deferred revenue, according to Lainie Goldstein, Take-Two’s newly appointed CFO, in a conference call with analysts. It would’ve become apparent anyway by the fact that the $50 million exceeds Take-Two’s average quarterly revenue of $43 million received from all its Xbox 360 titles combined.

Grand Theft Auto 4 screenshotMy guess would be Microsoft will charge 800 Microsoft points (that’s $10 / €9.60 / £6.80) for each episode that expands the main game after its October 17th release in the USA and its October 19th release in Europe. So they’d expect each episode to be downloaded 2.5 million times off Xbox Live Marketplace.

Texyt reports that Goldstein said “The first 25 [million] is for the first episodic content package that’s supposed to go out and that is in March of 2008. The second 25 [million] will be for the second episodic… the episode. That will be later in [the] fiscal year 2008.”

PS: Don’t take this news the wrong way if you feel you’re missing out as a PS3 owner, as Sony likely paid through the nose in similar deals for the year-long exclusivity of PS2 GTA games like San Andreas. — Via Evilavatar