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Grand Theft Auto V delay blows a $600 million hole in Take-Two’s outlook for 2013

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive had a strong quarter on the back of its first-person action game Borderlands 2, but the company reduced its outlook for fiscal year 2013 (which ends March 31, 2013) due Grand Theft Auto V slipping into fiscal year 2014.

Take-Two produced $288 million in second quarter revenues which is up 169 percent from the same period fiscal year 2012. It reported a GAAP net loss of $12.4 million, which is also better than last year when the publisher reported a loss of $47.3 million.

“Take-Two’s second quarter revenue and earnings exceeded our outlook, driven by the breakout success of 2K’s Borderlands 2 and robust demand for our catalog and digitally delivered offerings,” said Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chief executive officer. “Our business continues to fire on all cylinders, led by terrific early results from 2K’s NBA 2K13, and the outlook for our upcoming releases such as BioShock Infinite is stronger than ever. As a result, we continue to expect to deliver revenue growth and Non-GAAP profits in fiscal year 2013. Moreover, with Grand Theft Auto V slated for spring 2013, we are poised to generate substantial revenue and earnings growth in fiscal year 2014.”

The publisher revised its fiscal year 2013 earnings down to $1.1 to $1.2 billion down from $1.7 to $1.8 billion. This is clearly the result of moving Grand Theft Auto V into spring 2013. That pushes the potential blockbuster into the corporation’s next fiscal year.

Take-Two’s strongest gains in its second quarter came from Borderlands 2, which sold 5 million units, and catalog sales of Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. Previously released games like those accounted for 28 percent of net revenues. It hopes to continue to capitalize on its strong back catalog with its Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1 bundle which comprises Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, and Midnight Club: Los Angeles Complete Edition.

Digital sales were up 108 percent compared to fiscal 2012. Downloadable versions of Borderlands 2 and Max Payne 3 as well as the Grand Theft Auto and Civilization franchises composed 20 percent of Take-Two’s quarterly revenues. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is headed to Android and iOS devices soon. A spinoff of the Borderlands franchise called Borderlands Legends just hit Apple’s iOS yesterday.

Other highlights of Take-Two’s quarter included the 2K Sports release NBA 2K13 which sold 49 percent more units than the franchise’s previous best seller, NBA 2K11.

Take-Two provided no solid performance numbers for strategy action game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but Take-Two claimed that it is a “commercial success with strong digital sales.” Two new downloadable add-ons are due out for the game before the end of the year with more scheduled for calendar 2013.

Take-Two also pointed at its success in working with social and mobile developers in Asian markets. NBA 2K All Stars from developer Gree attracted more than 300,000 users in less than two months according to the company’s internal estimates. It also plans to release a massively multiplayer online version of Civilization developed by South Korean studio XLGames.


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