Mafia II, Red Dead Redemption delayed as Take-Two beats estimates

Publisher posts better-than-expected $10.1 million quarterly loss on $229.7 million revs, but fiscal-year guidance sinks on delays; second GTAIV DLC dated for fall; BioShock 2 due Nov. 3.


It's not entirely fair to compare Take-Two's second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2009, to the same three-month period of time this year. After all, during that window, the publisher shipped Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation3, a $310 million event that secured a Guinness World Record for the Highest Grossing Video Game in 24 Hours and the Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours.

Easy there, Quick Draw McGraw. You'll have to wait until the earliest.
Easy there, Quick Draw McGraw. You'll have to wait until the earliest.

As such, it is no surprise that Take-Two saw a significant year-over-year dip in second-quarter revenues, which fell to $229.7 million from $539.8 million during the year-ago period. Nevertheless, the company's sales during the period beat previous expectations of $200 to $220 million.

As part of its earnings report released today, the publisher also said that net losses for the quarter stood at $10.1 million, down from a $98.2 million profit a year ago. Today's report increases the publisher's total losses for the first half of fiscal 2009 to $60.5 million on revenues of $486.5 million.

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, which launched exclusively for the Xbox 360 in February, led sales for the publisher during the period. Other top performers included Major League Baseball 2K9, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Take-Two did not break out sales figures for any of the aforementioned games, the latter of which has seen heavy discounting at retail due to a less-than-fanatical commercial reception.

Take-Two also said today that it would be lowering its full-year fiscal guidance to between $1.05 billion and $1.15 billion from between $1.1 billion and $1.25 billion, thanks to two costly game delays. 2K Czech's Mafia II and Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Redemption are now expected to ship during the first half of the 2010 calendar year. Both games were bumped in order to "allow additional development time for the titles and to maximize their full potential in terms of the quality of the player experience and market performance."

One product that isn't expected to negatively impact the publisher's current-year financials is Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, the second Xbox 360-exclusive downloadable chapter for Rockstar Games' best-selling franchise. Take-Two today confirmed that the second add-on will be available through Xbox Live during its August 1 to October 31 quarter. The DLC will be available for 1,600 Microsoft points ($20).

Alongside that release, Rockstar will ship Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City, an Xbox 360-exclusive stand-alone retail product that combines the first two GTAIV add-on chapters onto one disc for $39.99.

Take-Two is holding its quarterly conference call with investors this afternoon. This story will be updated with details as appropriate.

[UPDATE] Highlights from the conference call are listed below:

--Take-Two chief financial officer Lainie Goldstein confirmed that BioShock 2 will ship in North America on November 3, with the European rollout expected a few days earlier on October 30.

--Take-Two CEO Ben Feder confirmed that 2K Sports' NBA 2K10 will ship for the Wii this year, having skipped the platform during the 2K9 season.

--Feder also noted that 2K Sports last year passed its MLB 2K baseball franchise to Visual Concepts, the same studio behind its well-regarded NBA 2K basketball series. MLB 2K9 received a withering critical reception after its launch across multiple platforms in March.

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