Red Dead Redemption sells 5M, GTAIV hits 17M

Take-Two exceeds second-quarter guidance as revenues grow 54% to $268 million, profit nearly $17 million; fiscal-year guidance raised; Max Payne 3 delayed.

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Rockstar Games scored substantial critical success with its latest open-world epic, Red Dead Redemption, which launched for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last month. Now, the game can make claim to commercial success as well, as Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive announced today as part of its strong second-quarter earnings report that the game has now sold more than 5 million units and is set to turn a profit in its first quarter on sale.

Red Dead Redemption made off with 5 million units sold.
Red Dead Redemption made off with 5 million units sold.

However, the game's quintuple-platinum milestone came outside the publisher's February-April quarter; thus, its sales results weren't factored into Take-Two's earning report. Still, the publisher had a hot quarter. During the period, sales rose to $268 million, a 54 percent increase over the $174.3 million Take-Two brought in during the same period a year ago. Take-Two also reversed last year's $10.4 million loss, posting a $16.9 million profit during the quarter.

Top new releases for the publisher during the period included BioShock 2, Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City on the PlayStation 3 and PC, and Major League Baseball 2K10. As part of a post-earnings conference call, president and CEO Ben Feder also noted that GTA: Episodes from Liberty City has been an "extremely profitable" foray into episodic content.

The publisher also saw continued strong sales from NBA 2K10, which launched in October 2009, and Rockstar's mega blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV. NBA 2K10 has now shipped 3 million units. As for GTAIV, Take-Two said the open-world gangster adventure has now sold more than 17 million units on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC since its record-setting April 2008 launch.

Having beaten expectations during its first, and now second, fiscal quarters, the publisher also said today that it would be raising its full-year guidance. Take-Two now expects to bring in $880 million to $980 million for its fiscal year ending October 31, 2010.

That upward revision comes despite a high-profile delay. The publisher said today that it would be once again delaying Rockstar Vancouver's Max Payne 3, which had previously been expected to ship later this year. Take-Two now expects the game to launch outside of its in-progress fiscal year.

In January, online reports indicated that Max Payne 3 development had been plagued by direction changes and that Rockstar Vancouver was suffering through hostile working conditions. When pressed by an analyst for confirmation that the game would be released in Take-Two's upcoming fiscal year (which runs November 1, 2010 to October 31, 2011), an executive only said a release date had not been announced for the title.

However, the publisher did reaffirm the releases of L.A. Noire, Mafia II, and Sid Meier's Civilization V, all of which are due during the August-October quarter.

Feder also briefly addressed Take-Two's plans for next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Notably, the executive said that Rockstar will not be showing any titles at this year's E3. However, numerous titles from its 2K Play label, including 2K Marin's recently announced X-COM reimagining, will be on hand in some form.

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