Possible release date for PC version of “GTA IV” leaked to the net.

Those of you who are drooling for a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV and debating over which console to buy because all you have is a PC may take some heart in this Softpedia news item:

… [W]e have a German website presenting the Grand Theft Auto IV PC version DVD case, together with a price and, what matters most for all of us: the release date. According to the website, the PC version of Rockstar’s title will be made available starting the 30th of November this year. What should normally be a further proof that the date is correct (or, at least, that a PC version is in the works) is the fact that pre-order is available. It remains to see how and if Rockstar responds to this… let’s call it “leak”. They probably won’t be too happy, since the official announcement still has to be made.

So, assuming this date is correct or at least in the general ballpark, if you can hold out ‘till November then you may not need to purchase a console to get your fix after all. Maybe by then they’ll have smushed the rather annoying freezing bugs as well.

Xbox 360 version of GTA4 already cracked and loose on the net.

Every now and then you’ll see an article about how gaming on the PC is dieing thanks to rampant piracy. Everyone wants to make console games because they’re supposedly harder for the pirates to crack and distribute. So perhaps someone could explain to me how the Asian PAL version of GTA4 is already on the net?

At approximately 1:45AM EST the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV was leaked onto the internet. According to our X3F tipsters, who better plan on actually buying the game, thousands of users are leeching the 6.36 GB potential game of the year candidate. The release is a rip of the PAL version, specifically from the Asian market, and comes a mere six days before retailers place the game on store shelves.

We don’t want to get on our soapbox here but we hope our readers would shy away from downloading a full version of the game, especially considering the team at Rockstar North have garnered near-perfect review scores for the release. Why? Well, it’s illegal kids … actually come to think of it, this leak is deliciously ironic. Isn’t it?

Yeah it really is. Just goes to show that the consoles aren’t all that much more difficult to pirate games for than the PC is.

Hear a song in GTA IV you like? You can buy it in-game.

Now here’s an interesting idea: Rockstar Games and Amazon.com have teamed up to bring you the option of buying any of the tracks you hear in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV from within the game itself:

The in-game radio feature of the Grand Theft Auto games has long been lauded, and now players will have the chance to scoop up the songs they hear in the game to listen to in the real world. A new technology called “ZiT” uses the game’s cell phone feature. When players hear a song they like, they can dial a number on their in-game cell-phone to receive a text message detailing the artist and track title. For users that sign up for the new Rockstar Games Social Club, an e-mail will then be sent with a link to a custom Amazon.com playlist which features the tracks phoned in. These DRM-free tracks will be priced in the 89-99¢ Amazon price range.

The game’s soundtrack reportedly includes over 150 tracks. The developers are “aiming for music geeks by handpicking rare, hard-to-find songs such as Electrick Funk’s 12-inch treasure ‘On A Journey’ and Elton John’s “Street Kids’ off his relatively unheralded Rock of the Westies,” as well as songs exclusive to the game like “‘Vagabond (Liberty City Mix)’ by the Greenskeepers and ‘War is Necessary’ from iconic rapper Nas,” according to a press release posted on Yahoo! Games.

Citing the success of downloadable music sales as implemented in Rock Band as an inspiration, but boasting the ability to take songs outside of the game, Amazon and Rockstar are looking for similar results from players of Grand Theft Auto 4. “Music has long played an integral part of the game playing experience,” said Ronn Werre, executive vice president of EMI Music’s Sales, Licensing and Synchronization unit, in a statement. “We think giving players the ability to identify and buy their favorite tracks from Grand Theft Auto IV’s popular radio stations is a great new music discovery tool for fans and an innovative new revenue stream for artists.”

This shouldn’t be too surprising as Rockstar has sold box sets of the soundtracks from previous GTA games, but it’s certainly novel in its approach. I’d actually be more inclined to use this method as I generally don’t like every song in the game (I rarely listen to the rap stations for example) so I’m not inclined to spring for the whole box set, but would be up to perhaps snagging a song or two that catches my fancy. The fact that you can do it in-game and then take the files to real-world players is pretty freakin’ cool.