Red Dead Redemption 2's New Release Window Narrowed Further
As part of its earnings, Take-Two also shared updated sales figures for NBA 2K17, Civilization Vi, and Mafia III.
Following the announcement of a delay to Red Dead Redemption 2, publisher Take-Two has reported its earnings for the most recent fiscal quarter and its full fiscal year, both of which ended on March 31, 2017.
The most significant revelation concerned Red Dead Redemption 2's release date. Yesterday's delay announcement said only that the game would now arrive during Spring 2018, which is a somewhat vague window. We can now narrow that down slightly further, as Take-Two confirmed it will not be out until fiscal year 2019. That means it will launch no sooner than April 1, 2018. Regarding the delay, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said, "Such decisions are not made lightly and are driven by our team's unwavering commitment to unparalleled quality." He added that it will have "no impact on Rockstar's other activities."
Asked about the level of anticipation for the game, Zelnick responded, "It's not really my nature or our nature to claim victory before it occurs; it's more our nature to do the very best we can to delight consumers and then report the results. To say that we're highly confident about Red Dead Redemption 2 is an extraordinary understatement. But I'm not sure that really matter ... it'll be released, and consumers get to vote."
Additionally, Zelnick noted that fiscal year 2019--which runs from April 2018 through March 2019--will also see the release of "a highly anticipated new title from one of 2K's biggest franchises." He didn't offer any further specifics regarding what the game might be. Borderlands 3 has long been rumored--and a new Borderlands is definitely in development--but there's no official indication that it's the franchise Zelnick was referencing.
With Red Dead Redemption 2 pushed back, Zelnick described Take-Two's release slate as "unusually light" during the current fiscal year, which runs through March 2018. New NBA 2K and WWE 2K games are on the way, and the company will continue to lean on Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online.
During a post-earnings conference call with investors, Zelnick stated that GTA V and GTA Online "outperformed [Take-Two's] expectations during the fourth quarter quarter as they have in every period since they released." GTA V has now shipped 80 million units worldwide since release, and with the game continuing to do well--it continues to see year-over-year growth in recurrent spending--"much more" is still planned in terms of future updates.
NBA 2K17 is on track to become Take-Two's best-selling sports game ever, Zelnick noted during the call. To date, it has shipped 8 million units. Other sell-in figures the company shared included Civilization VI ("nearly" 2 million, making it the fastest-selling game in series history), WWE 2K17 (3 million), and Mafia III (5 million).
Net revenue for the most recent fiscal year was $1.78 billion, up from $1.414 billion in the prior year. Digitally delivered net revenue was up to a record $921.7 million, half of which came from recurrent consumer spending (which includes things like DLC, microtransactions, and virtual currency purchases). That means 26% of the company's total net revenue stemmed from those sources.
In the wake of today's earnings news, Take-Two's stock has rebounded. The news of Red Dead Redemption 2's delay yesterday caused the company's share price to plunge in after-hours trading. However, it's performed strongly today, briefly reaching a new all-time high of $76.70. It stands at $72.04 as of this writing, which is also higher than the company had ever reached before today.
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