Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogging Before Bed: Take-Two Truth Comes Out

Take-Two finally confirmed that its fiscal year projections weren't going to be met after releasing its prior quarter earnings report this week. As time ran out on getting Grand Theft Auto V to retail stores, it was pretty much understood that Take-Two had aimed for the moon and never got out of the atmosphere when it came to its lofty projections. It was Grand Theft Auto V or bust-- and bust it was. 

That's not to say that Take-Two has been a total flop. Borderlands 2 has been selling briskly, and I think that the game will have at least an average sales tail. NBA 2K13 is off to a strong sales start. It looks like Bioshock Infinite is going to make its late February release window, which will help contribute to the publisher's projections. On the 2K Games side of the house, things are actually pretty good. 

The Rockstar arm of Take-Two is the problem. Max Payne 3 was a sales dud, especially by comparison to other Rockstar titles. DLC for the game has run into periodic delays. Now Take-Two is trying to resell Rockstar's current-gen catalog titles to try and make up some of the shortfall that the lack of Grand Theft Auto V caused. It won't matter. 

The revised $1.1 billion projection that Take-Two released is the one that we should have seen from Strauss Zelnick and his team in the first place. $1.6 billion was an obvious sign that Take-Two was counting on Grand Theft Auto V to see a release sometime before March of 2013, and when it became obvious that the game wasn't going to make it... it was easy to predict that projections would have to be slashed. That's a 30% cut, by the way. It's more than significant. 

Hopefully Take-Two has learned a little something about assuming that a flagship title is going to be ready, as opposed to ensuring that it is so. Once Take-Two put its anomalous number out there, even armchair analysts like myself could figure out that something big was expected. It's a bit misleading to investors to project such a number like $1.6 billion unless you know for certain that the flagship in question is ready to go. 

1 comment:

  1. The one thing I was rather glad to see out of their reports, was the talk that XCOM had sold better than they had expected and was considered a success. I'm down for more XCOM. Not straight away, because I haven't finished it yet (it was a fool's errand trying to Ironman my first save when I'd never played an XCOM game before), but I'd be happy with a new strategy game in this mold 2-3 years down the line.