GTAIV sales top 10M, Chinatown Wars by Feb '09

Blockbuster helps Take-Two rake in $51.8 million in net income on $433.8 million in quarterly revenue; no 360 GTA DLC before November.

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From the moment it was announced for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it was clear that Grand Theft Auto IV would be big. Today, publisher Take-Two Interactive revealed just how big. Reporting earnings for its third fiscal quarter, the company revealed the blockbuster sold 10 million copies at retailers worldwide as of August 16. That's a 1.5 million-unit jump from the 8.5 million-unit milestone GTA hit May 31.

For the three months ending July 31, Take-Two reported $433.8 million in revenue, more than double the $206.4 million it took in during the same quarter in 2007. Crediting GTA IV, Top Spin 3, and Civilization Revolution sales for the cash influx, the publisher said it earned $51.8 million in net income, up $110 million from the $58.5 million it lost during the same quarter last year.

The uptick came in spite of a $5.4 million charge "in professional fees and legal expenses, primarily related to Electronic Arts' unsolicited tender offer." EA let its offer lapse on August 18, and is currently talking with Take-Two in order to "validate the assumptions used in the model to support our offer," according to CEO John Riccitiello.

Take-Two made several other announcements of import to Grand Theft Auto fans. First off was the revelation that the episodic content for the Xbox 360 edition of GTAIV would not arrive in the company's current fiscal year, which ends on October 31. Despite a bevy of contradictory delay rumors, Microsoft told GameSpot at the end of August that the update, which is 360-exclusive, remains scheduled for "fall 2008."

Secondly, during a conference call with analysts, CEO Ben Feder said both "the Japanese version of Grand Theft Auto Grand Theft Auto IV...and a new GTA title, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, will be released in Q1 fiscal 2009." The publisher's oddly skewed fiscal year means Chinatown Wars, the first GTA game for the DS, could be released any time from November 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009. When asked by an analyst if the game would be out before Christmas, Feder replied, "I didn't say that," but declined to elaborate further.

Take-Two also revealed its release schedule for the rest of its fiscal 2008 year. The lineup includes the delayed Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Midnight Club: LA Remix, NBA 2K9, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization, and BioShock for the PS3. The company's fiscal 2009 lineup features the aforementioned Chinatown Wars and 360 DLC, Grand Theft Auto IV for the PC, NHL 2K10, NBA 2K10, Champions Online, MLB Superstars, Mafia II, and BioShock 2.

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