Take-Two blames GTA-less quarter for slipping sales

Publisher's revenues sink, but loss narrows alongside announcement of casual and family-friendly 2K Play label, Nickelodeon publishing deal.


Take-Two Interactive's financial fortunes have run hot and cold since the announcement of a delay for Grand Theft Auto IV. Disappointment at the publisher's biggest game being pushed back into next year was offset partially by news that Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 had been cleared for a North American release next month and an avalanche of glowing reviews for 2K Boston's BioShock.

Today the publisher announced its financial results for its fiscal third quarter, which ended just days before the GTAIV delay started the stock's roller coaster ride. For the three months ended July 31, Take-Two posted revenues of $206 million, down from $241 million from the same period of 2006. However, the company's losses narrowed nearly as much, with Take-Two losing nearly $59 million for the quarter, a significantly better showing than the $91 million it lost in last year's third quarter.

As for why sales were down, Take-Two blamed it on tough comparisons against the previous third quarter, when Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories launched on the PlayStation 2. Partially offsetting that were a line of new releases including The Darkness, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The BIGS, and All-Pro Football 2K8. Combined new releases brought in $44.5 million more than the new releases take for last year's third quarter (minus Liberty City Stories), which consisted of Prey, The Da Vinci Code, and Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis.

The company also gave its preliminary expectations for its 2008 fiscal year, which runs from November 1, 2007 to October 31, 2008. Take-Two expects to pull in between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion for fiscal 2008, compared to the $950 million to $1 billion it projects to tally by the end of its current financial year.

It wasn't all numbers for Take-Two today, as the company also announced a new deal with Nickelodeon and the formation of a family-friendly and casual-gamer-focused publishing label. 2K Play will launch this fall with a pair of games based on the Nick Jr. shows Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!. The new label will also play host to future installments in the company's Carnival Games and Deal or No Deal brands.

Take-Two did not specify the full range of properties for which it can make games, but it appears to be limited to those targeting children under the age of 6. Rival publisher THQ has had an "exclusive worldwide partnership [with Nickelodeon]...to publish games based on all existing and future animated TV and movie properties targeting kids ages 6-14 across all viable game systems" for years.

In a postearnings report conference call with analysts, Take-Two executives also talked about BioShock, L.A. Noire, and Beaterator. The publisher touted 2K Boston's latest shipping figures and declared its intention to turn it into a strong franchise with new installments created as frequently as every other year. At the same time, it announced that Rockstar's seedy crime actioner and Timbaland-fronted rhythm game have been delayed to Take-Two's 2009 fiscal year (which runs from November 1, 2008, to October 31, 2009).

On the 2K Sports front, the publisher said the label will turn a profit for the first time in fiscal 2009, and addressed the future of its All-Pro Football franchise. Despite sluggish sales, Take-Two intends to ship it again next year, "although we are looking at it carefully." Specifically, the company is looking at different price points and release dates as potential ways to make it more successful than this year's installment.

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Avatar image for londonrider

Maybe "Dora the Explorer of Rapture" would do then? :P

Avatar image for valdarez

For 2k Football, they don't need to look at sales and pricepoints, they need to look at better marketing.

Avatar image for RE4_Tipsters

I don't think parents will trust the guys who made GTA San Andreas to make Dora the Explorer.

Avatar image for therejectx

well its good thing that there will be a label out there that will cater to all those 6 year old gamers that have been waiting to get their hands on games like dora the explorer.

Avatar image for playstation_wii

I want GTA IV!

Avatar image for something1257

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for jacob-goodlich

la noir delayed till 2009............thats ok i will just wait around for a couple of years....(sobs)

Avatar image for gtafighter0

im so gonna snag me a copy of Dora the Explorer lol

Avatar image for coolcat888

Maybe the loss is because they keep publising crappy games like Fantastic 4.

Avatar image for ElHypno

Oh no..... not Dora the Explora ManHunt edition. When does Kill Diego Kill come out? Please dont tell me there is a Dora Hot Coffee mod....

Avatar image for Homerj

Boo-hoo for T2. Hard to feel sorry for a company that made a conscious decision to delay just beacause they cant get GTAIV to run on the PS3. Doesnt make any business sense to delay for PS3...over half of all PS3 owners in North America would have to buy a copy just to make that version a million seller. GTA might be popular, but since the software sell-through for PS3 is somewhere around 1.2 games per console, I really doubt they get numbers that high.

Avatar image for Hvac0120

I am actually excited to see the Nickelodeon deal. My daughter sleeps with her Diego doll every night while she's wrapped in her Dora pajamas. We are sure to have a good time with those games. We already play some of the nickjr.com games.

Avatar image for ebookerd1

it is hard for me to believe that they had such a large financial loss this year with the games that came out I think All pro is at a total dissadvantage due to the the madden Lock down. I personally think that is illegal and garbage to remove competition that way. The need a die hard title that will possibly supply multiplayer. I am iffy on the only MP games unless they are MMO's. But multiplayer games sell like hot cakes on the market.

Avatar image for Reetesh

Going MP for a largely selling game, is the way to earn more money if in troubles, obviously they know that because of what they did with LCS and VCS, but if they so some nice quality porting it should turn out good for them

Avatar image for hilltops

Here, Here..Get the games on the shelves you wouldnt have facts and figures if you didn't make games, focus on projected games and how they are doing as oppose to projected sales etc. In my opinion anywayz... ps GTA4 Killed it for them though, It will be good though, of course they will do new stuff with it..they have more time now.. "Get it right or right now..they chose to get it right..| hope."

Avatar image for vass86

"Oh, so they are expecting Dora the Explorer to make up for these sales??" LOL

Avatar image for boobush

Even so that I agree, it's stupid blaming something that happened because of them.

Avatar image for Chiyou

GTA V will do well but eventually people will get sick of GTA unless they put some revolutionary new things into the game. Bioshock should bring their numbers up! thats probably their best title to date!

Avatar image for BraindeadRacr

That's what you get when your goldmine gets pushed into 2008.

Avatar image for Crazy_Kid314

GTA will settle all of this on its own.

Avatar image for smokinherb

Oh who cares...let's just get the frikin' games on the shelves for god's sake!!! Enough wait!

Avatar image for comthitnuong

Oh, so they are expecting Dora the Explorer to make up for these sales??

Avatar image for RaiKageRyu

Can All-Pro tackle the beast that is Madden?

Avatar image for RoC1909

I guess Take 2 is run by a bunch of morons. WHY O WHY do these companies base their earnings on something that doesn't exist except in some 'alpha' form?? ESPECIALLY, when it comes to video games and their 3.245632% accuracy in regards to predicting a release date. DO NOT COUNT ON GAME SALES INCLUDED IN A COMPANY EARNINGS UNLESS IT HAS PHYSICALLY BEEN RELEASED!!

Avatar image for NyGin07

i predict bioshock will sell 400-500k in its first month

Avatar image for DragonXx

im hopin the 2k play will be on Wii. :) I dont need Dora teh Explorer. Maybe they will release BioShock on PS3..

Avatar image for ctg867

Bioshock has a metascore above 9.5, it's sold 1.5 million copies ALREADY, and Take-Two is whining about sales. Get over yourselves. That's what happens when your 360 version of GTAIV, the easier one to develop for, chugs at press demonstrations and looks awful in motion.

Avatar image for swyg

They just had an article saying BioShock sold 1.5 million units on both X360 and PC; it'll probably sell even more now that the fourth quarter is coming around the corner. Plus, Manhunt 2 is getting an October release, and I'm sure the PS2 version will be a big success considering there's so many PS2 in consumer hands, not to mention Wii owners are just looking for a reason to play an adult game, kind of like how everyone had a boner for Eternal Darkness. shipped, not sold.

Avatar image for lamprey263

They just had an article saying BioShock sold 1.5 million units on both X360 and PC; it'll probably sell even more now that the fourth quarter is coming around the corner. Plus, Manhunt 2 is getting an October release, and I'm sure the PS2 version will be a big success considering there's so many PS2 in consumer hands, not to mention Wii owners are just looking for a reason to play an adult game, kind of like how everyone had a boner for Eternal Darkness.

Avatar image for BXSENTINEL

they could help themselves by releasing gta4 on the nintendo wii as well. it would give them more sales down the line. i beleave if you find the best programers gta could be done on such a system. if may not compare to ps3 or 360 but it would be decent on its own merrits.......

Avatar image for Bart247

2K Play? A good idea for young children. Atari did the same thing. Looks like they bought the Dora the Explorer game license from Atari (since they did the games). Can't wait for Manhunt 2. Looks like a good game, and a good day to release.

Avatar image for SporkFireXPS

"they actually paid this guy to explain why there's losses?" What's so surprising about that? Most medium-large size companies have these kind of people.

Avatar image for -HCMF-

This just in decafe coffee makers are claiming that the lack of cafine is causing their product not to sell....

Avatar image for ppau08223

i guess that bioshick wasnt enough to lift there sales. damn pirates!! /sarcasm

Avatar image for SpazH3d

Is that sooo...

Avatar image for Neosword


Avatar image for fkholmes

Ages 6-14? Lol.

Avatar image for Irogon767

To Diablusx: I wouldnt say its them going soft but I do think they did this partially to polish the overall Company Appearance to the mainstream. I doubt anyone wants to be attacked day and night by Parent Groups.

Avatar image for PS2to-the-end

i hate gta. but thats just me!

Avatar image for kidshining

i would like to see "GTA Run Diego Run!" or dorahunt lol

Avatar image for DonutTrooper

No GTA, and they actually paid this guy to explain why there's losses?

Avatar image for halfirishhomer

bioshock is an amazing game

Avatar image for diablusx

I do not usualy care for Nickelodeon game but how can Take Two get the deal? There must have been some serious close door deals for the company behind Manhunter and GTA to get a deal for family friendly game from Nickelodeon. Hopefully this is not a sign the Take Two is getting soft and giving in to the pressure to censor their products.

Avatar image for thelastguy

fourth....... i wish GTA IV was coming out next month... well at least they will improve on the game

Avatar image for jim_sk8er_201


Avatar image for Mikerules868


Avatar image for lamprey263

I blame Take Two not selling North America region coded AO rated Manhunt 2's from the Netherlands with the help from Amazon that they had a perfect opportunity to do but didn't.

Avatar image for Pete5506