Evolve Enjoyed "Incredibly Successful" Launch, But Soft Sales Predicted

Take-Two's Karl Slatoff says, "We're very pleased" with Evolve, while one analyst claims the game shifted only 300,000 units.

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Speaking Wednesday at the Piper Jaffray Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff boasted that monster-hunting game Evolve enjoyed an "incredibly successful commercial" launch last month. He didn't share any specific sales numbers, but one analyst was less enthusiastic when it came to the subject of Evolve sales.

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Cowen & Company's Doug Creutz wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday that his firm is projecting sales of around 300,000 physical units for Evolve in the US during February. The game launched on February 21, meaning only one week of sales were counted.

"Even assuming a generous physical/digital split, we think the game will likely top-out at around 1.5 million units of total worldwide first-year sell-through," he said.

Creutz acknowledged that even though Evolve was generally well-received by critics, the game might be "too niche to reach a wide audience." He also said Evolve's "confusing and over-elaborate DLC plan" could have turned off some potential consumers.

The game's DLC program has been controversial. Some took the news that the game would be supported by large volumes of additional content as a way for developer Turtle Rock Studios to "leech" money out of players. Creative director Phil Robb responded to these concerns, saying, "If we're going to make money we want to feel good about the way we've done it."

Slatoff, on the other hand, only had positive things to say about Evolve. He recalled that when Take-Two bought Evolve, then known as Metamorphosis, from THQ for $10.9 million during its bankruptcy auction, the company thought it had acquired "something really special."

"And as the game evolved, and I guess the pun is sort of intended, I think our instincts have proven out right," he said. "We're very pleased; we've had an incredibly successful commercial launch with Evolve. We're very happy with where things are going, particularly on the digital side. Digital has been very strong with us. Not only with full-game downloads, but also the attach rates for our season pass have been very strong. I'm not going to give you specific numbers, but we're very pleased. So I would say, in general, Evolve has been a fantastic experience for us and we're very pleased with it."

Slatoff added that he has also enjoyed Evolve's critical reception, which was generally strong.

The NPD Group will announce February's sales results on Thursday, March 12, at which time Evolve's first-month sales performance will come into focus.

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