We know what you're thinking: Why not release the game for Xbox 360 in ought seven, and ship the PS3 release whenever it's ready (everyone else seems to be taking this course of action)? Pachter further surmises "that Take-Two had a contractual commitment to Sony that it would not favor competitor Microsoft by launching the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV prior to launching the PS3 version," calling it "the only plausible explanation." Guess he doesn't think much of our theory that the targeting was too accurate and intuitive and needed to be retooled.
[Update: Newsweek's N'Gai Croal takes a slightly different approach than Mr. Pachter, surmising, "We believe that Rockstar is having difficulty with both versions of the game, not just the PS3." In other words, no deals enforcing a consistent launch date across platforms, just difficulty in getting it ready on either. "It wouldn't surprise us if Rockstar and Take-Two had already all-but-delayed the PS3 version to triage the Xbox 360 version for this holiday, only to have their hands forced when, at yesterday's product review, it became clear to both sides that even the 360 version could not be completed this year to Rockstar's exacting standards."]