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Grand Theft Auto V early sales row
The creators of Grand Theft Auto V have launched an investigation after copies of the eagerly-anticipated video game appear to have been dispatched days ahead of its official release.
Online retailer Amazon has already sold out of the game which cost more to make than many Hollywood blockbusters and, in certain circles, generated a similar hype.
Hundreds of fans are expected to queue up to get their hands on the latest iteration in the Grand Theft Auto series which reportedly cost around £170 million to make and market - more than films such as Avatar.
It will go on sale at midnight when stores across the country are expected to open their doors for special launch events. But some gamers claimed to have received their copies as early as Friday following Amazon deliveries.
Fans expressed their delight on Twitter where one user wrote: "THANK YOU MUM AND AMAZON GTA 5 HERE TODAY". Another joked: "I refuse to disclose whether Amazon has dispatched my pre-order copy of GTA early in case it prevents them from doing so again in the future".
GTA maker Rockstar said it was looking into how any copies of the game may have been released early.
"We are in the process of investigating early 'sales' to determine how and why that is occurring," a spokesman told the Games Industry International website.
In a message on its website, Amazon warned any orders placed after September 13 may not arrive until after Tuesday's release date because of high demand. It said: "Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360) - Stock Update. Please note - due to high demand, orders placed for Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360) from September 13 will be shipped as soon as we receive inventory."
Experts are tipping the game to smash sales records and estimates suggest it could generate £1 billion during its first year on sale when gamers are predicted to snap up some 25 million copies.
An Amazon spokesman said: "We have established processes in place to deliver new titles to customers on their release date and are looking into the circumstances that led to a small number of customers receiving this game earlier than intended on this occasion. Amazon customers who ordered GTAV for release day delivery will receive their game tomorrow."