Take-Two posts $55.5 million quarterly loss

Publisher sees earnings slump to $138.6 million, compared to GTAIV-fueled gangbusters revenues during the same period in 2008; BioShock 2, Mafia II, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3 due after Jan. 31.

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Last week, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich offered an upbeat perspective on the state of Take-Two Interactive, saying that the high-profile publisher's money-making potential is "grossly underestimated" over the next couple of years. And while new BioShock, Mafia, Borderlands, and Max Payne games may provide a lift in the future, the publisher's third quarter financial report indicates Take-Two is still heavily reliant on its Grand Theft Auto franchise.

Take-Two ratings took a bit of a hit versus last year...
Take-Two ratings took a bit of a hit versus last year...

Reporting on the three-month period ended July 31 today, Take-Two said that revenue reached $138.6 million, nearly $10 million shy of company projections issued in May. The figure compares poorly to the same period of time last year, when Take-Two's revenues surged to $433.8 million on the strength of Grand Theft Auto IV's record-setting launch.

Take-Two also posted a $55.5 million net loss for the period, compared to a $51.8 million profit it turned during the period last year. Indeed, Take-Two continues to reap dividends from Rockstar Games' heralded action adventure, as GTAIV along with The Bigs 2 and Major League Baseball 2K9, led third-quarter sales, the publisher said.

Though key titles, such as BioShock 2, Mafia II, and Red Dead Redemption, were bumped into its 2010 fiscal year--which runs November 1, 2009, through October 31, 2010--Take-Two still has a number of potential hits on tap this year, primarily from its Rockstar Games subsidiary. In September, Rockstar will debut Beaterator on the PSP and iPhone, while October will see the release of GTAIV: The Ballad of Gay Tony and Episodes from Liberty City on the Xbox 360 and GTA: Chinatown Wars for the PSP and iPhone.

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

In a post-earnings conference call, Take-Two CEO Ben Feder offered an update on the release status of BioShock 2, Mafia II, Max Payne 3, and Red Dead Redemption, saying that none of the titles are expected to launch before January 31, 2010.

"We are continuing to evaluate the optimal release window for these titles and still plan to release all four titles in the first half of calendar 2010," he said. "At this point, we don't expect any of these titles to launch within our first fiscal quarter ending January 31, 2010."

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