Here at least, I've heard about the game in the "News" again and again. (Belgium)
Such or such shop exceptionnaly opened at 22:00 so people could queue and buy the game at 00:00 (here shops are usually closed at 18:30).
Such or such "expert" speaking about the influence on the children of such "an incredibely well done game, so realistic and with such an incredible level of freedom ...".
Is it so amazing that, with so much coverage, people not knowing anything about games would have an incentive, an urge, to put their hands on that "phenomenon" ?
I only remember that GTA IV was so boring, so repetitive and so identical to the previous ones that I put it aside for some other game.
Still, GTA IV was also highly rated and heavily advertised/covered by "journalists".
History repeats itself. Deal with it.