Traditionally, Take-Two Interactive has lost money during years it hasn't released a major new Grand Theft Auto product. This year turned out to be the exception. Today, the publisher reported earnings for the 12 months ended October 31, which saw revenue rise 65 percent to $1.16 billion. The company also turned a profit of $49.7 million, way up from the $130 million loss it suffered a year prior.
"We have achieved our goal of profitability in a year without a new release of Grand Theft Auto," said outgoing CEO Ben Feder in a statement. "Our better-than-expected revenue growth and margin expansion were driven by strong demand for our diverse portfolio of games, including the hit new titles Red Dead Redemption and NBA 2K11, as well as strong sales of catalog titles and digitally delivered content. I am also pleased to report that our 2K Sports division was profitable during the period."
Thanks to the cancellation of Electronic Arts' NBA Elite 11, NBA 2K11 was unopposed in the basketball sim market, allowing it to ship 3 million units worldwide. As a result, it dominated its release month of October, according to sales rankings from the NPD Group. The game's success contributed to August-October revenues climbing 32 percent to $373 million, generating a quarterly profit of $54.2 million--up from a $7.9 million loss the year prior.
Another factor for Take-Two's August-October quarter was ongoing sales of such games as Sid Meier's Civilization V, Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete, and Mafia II. Red Dead Redemption also continued to sell well, nearing 8 million in worldwide sales during the period.
Today also marks the last time Take-Two will report earnings for a fiscal year ending on October 30. In October, the company announced it was shifting its fiscal year to end on March 31 to put it better in line with other publishers' fiscal years.
Looking ahead, the company expects $290 million to $315 million in revenues and earnings per share of $0.25 to $0.35 for the revised current October-December quarter. For the following quarter, ending March 31, Take-Two estimates revenues of $100 million to $150 million and a loss of between $0.50 to $0.60 per share. For the full revised fiscal year ending March 31, the publisher projects revenues of $1 billion to $1.1 billion and earnings per share of $0.50 to $0.65.
For the remainder of its new fiscal year, Take-Two expects to release Top Spin 4 and Major League Baseball 2K11 during the January-March quarter. L.A. Noire has a spring 2011 release, and executives said it would not be released during its current fiscal year during a post-earnings conference call. Duke Nukem Forever has a calendar year 2011 release window, with Spec Ops: The Line and XCOM both due sometime during the company's 2012 fiscal year, which begins on April 1, 2011. Lastly, BioShock Infinite will ship sometime during calendar year 2012.