Episodes From Liberty City to sell 2.25-2.75 million - Analyst

Michael Pachter predicts GTAIV expansion will sell well, next GTA will arrive by the 2010 holidays, and next 18 months will see release of Agent and Ken Levine's mystery shooter.

Max Payne 3

On Tuesday, Take-Two Interactive reported a loss of $55.5 million for the May-July quarter, the third of its fiscal year. The result? Its stock price shot up over $1 the following day. The reason? Besides the fact that the sizable loss was less than expected, analysts remain bullish about the New York-based publisher in general and its upcoming lineup in particular.

Michael Pachter isn't doing a double-take on Take-Two.

Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter thinks that the decision to release the stand-alone disc Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City, which contains the two Grand Theft Auto IV expansions for $39.99, will reap major rewards.

"We estimate that around 7 million copies of GTAIV were sold on the Xbox 360, meaning that approximately 25 million Xbox 360 owners did not buy the game," he said. "While we don't expect a huge attach rate, we think that it is reasonable that Take-Two could see a 5 percent attach rate among this audience, plus another 1 to 1.5 million discs sold to the 7 million prior owners."

Episodes from Liberty may do a global Smash-'n'-Grab.

Since 5 percent of 25 million is 1.25 million, by Pachter's calculus, Episodes From Liberty City could sell anywhere from 2.25 to 2.75 million units worldwide. And that figure doesn't include downloads of one of its episodes, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, from Xbox Live. Both it and Episodes From Liberty City are due out on October 29.

Pachter also believes that, despite Take-Two's repeated refusals to comment, the next Grand Theft Auto game will be released next holiday season. He also thinks Agent, the 1970s-set espionage game revealed at June's Electronic Entertainment Expo, will arrive during the publisher's 2010 fiscal year, which ends on October 31, 2010. The middle two quarters of that fiscal year will also see the release of four former 2009 Take-Two tentpole titles: Mafia II, Max Payne 3, BioShock 2, and Red Dead Redemption. Pachter believes all will sell at least 1.5 million units, helping Take-Two see "at least $250 million in revenue growth."

Finally, the analyst believes the next 18 months will see the release of the mystery shooter that BioShock creator Ken Levine is working on at 2K Boston. In addition, Pachter writes, "We understand that the company has made some progress in finishing L.A. Noire," the long-in-limbo 1950s-set crime game set in Los Angeles. He also thinks that 2K's Firaxis studio will "be in a position" to put out a new Civilization game during Take-Two's next fiscal year.

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