Take-Two's Q1 profits skyrocket 74 percent

San Andreas sales now exceed 12 million units; publisher has $300 million war chest--and that's cash.


Take-Two president and CEO Paul Eibeler called the company's first quarter of fiscal year 2005, which ended January 31, 2005, one that is "off to a great start."

Talk about an understatement.

The company's first-quarter sales totaled $502.5 million, which compares to $375.5 million for the first quarter last year--an increase of 34 percent. That's the top line. But it's the bottom line that should be keeping day traders and institutional investors plotting their next move. On cumulative unit sales of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that topped 12 million units, the company banked $55.2 million in profit for the quarter, a 74 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.

"We are extremely pleased with the continued success of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Rockstar's plans to extend the reach of this blockbuster title to multiple platforms and the Asian market later this year," Eibeler said today in a statement.

On the products side, Take-Two mostly mopped up questions of release dates and platforms for some of its already announced games. PSP owners looking forward to the racing game Midnight Club: DUB Edition can expect to rock some tricked-out whips this April, the same month its console counterparts will be released.

The Warriors, based on the 1979 film of the same name, will now battle on the Xbox as well as the PS2. Those looking to reenact the campy gang warfare can expect to rumble this September.

On the sports front, Take-Two announced that it is actively pursuing an extension to its nonexclusive NBA license in the wake of the company's war with Electronic Arts to gain exclusivity over sports leagues. Though Eibeler's comment "We hope to have more to say on the NBA in the coming weeks" may spark thoughts of Take-Two attempting to gain the exclusive rights over the NBA, he later commented in the analyst Q&A that followed the main presentation that Take-Two has indeed "had a lot of conversations with the NBA," but the NBA is a different market and would like to retain its nonexclusive arrangements with game developers. It looks like the NBA will remain an open market for sports games.

One bit of non-news that should keep gamers happy involves the development progress of the non-PS2 Grand Theft Auto games that Take-Two plans on releasing. GTA: San Andreas for the PC and Xbox and the as-yet-unnamed Grand Theft Auto game for the PSP are both still on course for release sometime in Take-Two's third quarter, which falls in the window of May through July.

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