Analyst: Take-Two to make grim guidance

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter forecasts 40 percent year-on-year earnings drop for the Grand Theft Auto publisher, in line with its cautious forecast.

Tomorrow, Take-Two Interactive will announce its earnings for the first quarter of its 2006 fiscal year, which ended on January 31. While the actual numbers won't be made public until the afternoon, Wall Street analysts are already prognosticating how the publisher did during the all-important holiday season.

One of the most respected game-industry analysts, Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter, sent out a note today warning Take-Two investors to "expect another weak quarter." Not that such news would be a surprise. "We expect the company to report Q1 results in line with its guidance for revenues of $230 to $250 million," wrote Pachter, who also predicted a $0.14 net loss per share.

Anyone familiar with Take-Two will likely be able to guess why the publisher's November 2005 to January 2006 quarter wasn't as good as its November 2004 to January 2005 quarter. The earlier period began just days after the company's Rockstar Games subdivision shipped Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, one of the best-selling games of all time. The latter period saw another Take-Two label, 2K Games, release several Xbox 360 launch titles and came after the launch of the top PlayStation Portable title to date, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Apparently, the newer games' combined sales made much less money than San Andreas did solo, however. "NPD US retail video game software sales data for the January quarter implies that Take-Two's sales are down 40 percent compared with the prior year quarter," wrote Pachter.

With his assessment of Take-Two's finances remaining grim, Pachter is maintaining his hold rating in the company's stock. "We think that Take-Two will continue to face a challenging retail environment over the next six months," he wrote. "As we see no positive catalysts over the near term, we recommend that investors stay on the sidelines for the next few months until Take-Two can demonstrate that it can deliver on its guidance. We are maintaining our hold rating and our $15 price target." Today, the company announced a new next-gen sports title, Table Tennis for the Xbox 360.

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Discussion

21 comments
SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Hot Coffee is what hurt them the most.

darkxinos
darkxinos

It's not stpid to put hot coffe in there, it's stupid to react too it. What's with the mentality that sex is more offensive than violence? That's just so screewed up >.>

DrKill09
DrKill09

Doesn't look good. Looks like if things don't get fixed, GTA is done.

StillWingless
StillWingless

XD I think every comment before me has something to do with hot coffee, and I'm just going to throw another one on the pile. The drop isn't surprising, and consistently lower forecasts make sense. The GTA series is never going to sell as well as it used to. No one cared about all the negative press, but now that the government's been involved, everyone is going to be more cautious. Fewer underage kids will be getting the game, which is probably the biggest effect.

Paganstar
Paganstar

oh yes it is all about hot coffee. course no mention of the other suits going on involving insider trading and the class action suit by it's shareholders regarding "false and misleading statements to keep the stock price high until executives could dump millions of dollars of overvalued shares into the market. " you can check http://www.gamespot.com/news/6143622.html if you don't remember but that has nothing to do with their problems.... Also when a company starts hitting these problems over and over again it is time to look for a buy out... the games will go on to someone else and it will continue on just as always.

Strider817
Strider817

Heh, I actually just bought stock in Take Two today and here's why... Yes, they will report a loss, and probably a bigger loss then expected, due to Oblivion missing it's original target date. However, my belief is that the delay has helped as it allows for greater market penetration of the 360 at release and it's at a sudo "dead space" on the release calender. Also, the entire game industry is suffering because people are holding back purchases in anticipation of the new consoles, but this may change as the PS3 has been delayed, and there is no time table for the Revolution. I still think Take Two is a solid company that has been innovative and changed the landscape for games in the past, and I can see it in the future with the newly announced Table Tennis game, to Alan Wake.

mark632
mark632

Come on people, Hot Coffee has nothing to do with Take Two's problems in Q4. The costs of recall were absorbed in late Q2 and early Q3 and the revised version of San Andreas was released around September 18. That's almost 6 weeks before Q4 even began. Take Two's sales are down because they are a one trick pony. The same thing happened in Q4 of 2003 (the year between Vice City and San Andreas). That's why they are porting Liberty City Stories to the consoles (since the PSP just doesn't have enough market penetration to even come close to the sales possible on the PS2). Granted Take Two has tried very hard to build (or buy) other franchises, but they just haven't worked out.

ufopuller
ufopuller

Sounds like GTA is taking the back roads

Limonadi
Limonadi

i think that sooooooooooooooooooooooo stupin idea to put hot coffee in gta. that hurt them bad.........And i think we don`t see Bully game until 2007 ps2.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

good. hopefully they go bankrupt.

KiLLer_ba
KiLLer_ba

That Hot coffee scandal hurt them a lot. Damn Congress, Angry Soccer moms and Prostitutes

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

I'd go so far as to say that this scandal has much less to do with their woes than their near-exclusive reliance on GTA to make money. They only have one game series that makes them any sizable amount of money: GTA (and even then only on the home consoles). They've not had a home console GTA since San Andreas, and nothing has been able to fill in the gap. Instead of brushing it off as being because of the Hot Coffee scandal, companies need to look at Take-Two as an example of the dangers of sticking to one or two franchises. Midway was able to bounce back from the MK scandals in the early nineties because they had many other games to fall back on, a luxury Take-Two doesn't have.

davahsa
davahsa

.....................ok. Anyhoo, they only have themselves to blame

oblivion437
oblivion437

Well, take it both sides, HC Scandal means something...For politicians it gives them a new 'necessary' power, which means more tax money (always targeted first at the rich, fifty percent of the population pays ninety-five percent of the taxes, the other half, the lower-income half, pays five percent, despite some tax brackets being right next to eachother, so once you think you've made it, you're screwed) funneled into another wasteful, inefficient, ineffectual government program that actually somehow exacerbates the problem. If a government game-porn monitor got started, there'd surely be more porn, trust me. There are more dangerous narcotics in this country now after a hundred years of the war on drugs than their was in the country before it started. Just a thought. Anyways, to Take Two, the real focus: They've become a whipping boy. If Rockstar were to switch publishers at some point, and they and their studios never became embroiled in such a scandal, they and GTA could have a long, long, prosperous future ahead of them. Everyone knows Take Two and 2KGames; Rockstar North, DMA Design, Rockstar Games or Rockstar Toronto are somewhat less familiar names. Toronto being the studio that developed the excellent brawler The Warriors released last year, for those of you who didn't know. Anyways, if Take Two rehabilitates their image, it will be a long, difficult road. However, HC can't be blamed totally. There is a single fact, a good chunk of their profits in any financial term of record is always sales of a Grand Theft Auto game or games, and this means that for a sizeable portion of their income they depend on GTA. This is a problem. GTA is a solid flagship, for now. It's possible, perhaps even likely that at some point in the future this will no longer be the case.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

Too bad the Hot Coffee scandal is still having repercussions on Take-Two's sales. They are a fine company and cannot be solely marked by GTA games.

JuggaloFackle69
JuggaloFackle69

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hmsmichaelot
hmsmichaelot

stupid hot coffee really hurt them. I wish people would be more relaxed about the censorship of sex (if you call hot coffee sex, cause its hard with one's pants on)

hmsmichaelot
hmsmichaelot

stupid hot coffee really hurt them. I wish people would be more relaxed about the censorship of sex (if you call hot coffee sex, cause its hard with one's pants on)

eduardjm
eduardjm

what sucks is that a major part of this is due to hot coffee....damn congress.....