It’s official. We’re one week away one day away from the biggest gaming event ever – Grand Theft Auto V is set for release. If you haven’t bought the game yet, you might be wondering what store to pre-order the game from. Well, if you don’t want to bother reading the rest of the article (which honestly compares very similar offerings), the direct spoiler is right below…

Best Pre-Order Deals for GTA V:

  • Xbox 360: Microsoft Store (free 1600 points + release day shipping)
  • PS3: Amazon (release date shipping) or buy and download the PSN Day 1 Digital Version (bonus of 75% off Rockstar games)

As far as we can tell, ALL retail store copies including the PSN day 1 digital version will include the Atomic Blimp in-game vehicle pre-order bonus. This makes it a lot less interesting in terms of picking the best retailer. Having said that, there are still some clear difference if you plan to pre-order online.

Atomic Blimp In-Game Vehicle

GTA-5-ATOMIC-BLIMP

All Standard and Special Edition copies of Grand Theft Auto V will receive the Atomic Blimp in-game vehicle. The blimp allows you to “take control of the most leisurely aircraft in the Los Santos skies” and is an “iconic feature of the Los Santos skyline.” If you decide not to pre-order, we wouldn’t be surprised if this shows up as a DLC of sorts by paying a few bucks later (though things of this nature are always rare with Rockstar).

GTA V Pre-Order Bonus Comparison

GameStop

Microsoft Store

Amazon

Best Buy

Price

$59.99

$59.99

$59.99

$59.99

Pre-order Bonuses

Atomic Blimp + “exclusive poster”

Atomic Blimp +1600 Xbox Live Points

Atomic Blimp

Atomic Blimp

Platform

PS3 & 360

360

PS3 & 360

PS3 & 360

 

As you can tell from the table above, all major retailers will include the Atomic Blimp as a pre-order bonus. Certain retailers like Target.com don’t specify it, but we’re fairly confident if you pre-order, you should receive the in-game vehicle access code via email (as always though, YMMV). The Atomic Blimp won’t be delivered to your inbox right away on release day, so expect it 1-2 days after September 17.

Update: As mentioned by Scott, there’s a PlayStation Network deal on Day 1 Digital version of GTA V available. If you pre-order from the PlayStation Network you’ll receive the Atomic Blimp similar to the physical versions, and as an additional incentive you’ll receive an exclusive PS3 theme along with 75% off any Rockstar Games titles on PSN. Details here.

If you have a fast connection and you’re not worrying about pre-loading or PSN server issues, this is the way to go – especially if you want to pick up additional Rockstar titles for cheap. (Edit: European GTA V PSN pre-orders aren’t getting it easy as their pre-load has now been delayed until Sunday Sep 15).

Why Microsoft Store for GTA V (Xbox 360)?

So why is Microsoft Store the best place to grab the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto V anyway? The gist is simple – as an extra incentive, you’ll be receiving 1600 Xbox Live Points for free when you pre-order from Microsoft Store, PLUS you’ll get free shipping.

Given Xbox Live points will be converted to dollar value when the Xbox One is released, you are basically getting $20 for free. The points will be sent to the email address you’ve used when making the purchase.

Update: You now get release day shipping if you order by Sep 15, 6PM PT and you’ll get guaranteed release day delivery. PLUS the 1600 points. It doesn’t get any better than this? (Thanks HobbXhabin for the tip).

Unfortunately, the free shipping doesn’t mean you get the game on release day, just that the game will be shipped come Sep 17. If you’re absolutely sure you’re not in a super rush to play the game come next week, this is a great option.

How to Redeem your 1600 Point Promo Code:

  1. Return to Microsoft Store
  2. Add Xbox Live 1600 points in your cart
  3. Checkout the shopping cart
  4. Enter your promo code and hit apply
  5. Discount will be applied to your order
  6. Single use only! Promo code expires on 12/31/2013

Why Amazon for GTA V (PS3)?

Pre-ordering from Amazon will get you RELEASE DAY shipping if you have access to Amazon Prime. Even if you don’t, the shipping option is available in select regions. This means without additional work on your part, your copy of GTA V will arrive on your doorstep the day of release, September 17, 2013.

September 17 Midnight Best Buy Openings

At the end, if you MUST play the game on release day (we’re talking midnight Sep 17)… select Best Buy locations will have GTA V for sale at 12:01 AM. Sucks for the Best Buy employees, but good for the customers and GTA fanatics. Details on midnight sales are sketchy right now, so your best bet is just to phone your local Best Buy and ask.



Viet Do

 
Viet works at Dealzon.com, a deal site for techies and gamers. Run by geeks across the U.S. with an unhealthy obsession for pizza and coffee. Dealzon tracks daily prices on laptops, video games, and HDTVs. At Dealzon, we find the deals so you don't have to.