Take-Two Interactive recently announced the delay of one of the most anticipated games of the year, Bioshock 2, to the vague timeframe of the “first half of calendar 2010.” Since then, they have also confirmed that several other big IP; like Mafia II, Red Dead Redemption, and Max Payne 3 will also make the jump to next year, the company readily acknowledged the hit to profits in the remaining fiscal quarters of 2009. Their third quarter (which ends July 31st) is expected within the $120-130 million range, with projected fourth quarter (ending October 31st) earnings coming in between $350-400 million, their projected total for the year coming in at $.96-1 billion. However, with four hyped and anticipated titles on their schedule for the beginnings of next year, Take-Two easily expects to post major profit in 2010.
Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two, stated, “We recognize that our revised outlook for the balance of fiscal year 2009, due to both internal and external factors, is a disappointment. That said, we concluded that moving the release of BioShock 2 into fiscal year 2010 was the right decision for the product. We believe the result will be a more compelling consumer experience and a better performing product in the marketplace…We remain confident in the long term potential for Take-Two’s business, and our ability to capitalize on that potential through our exceptional creative talent and solid balance sheet.”
Ben Feder, Chief Executive Officer of Take-Two, added, “The decision to shift a release date is never an easy one, especially with a product as highly anticipated as BioShock 2. We felt that it was essential to invest the additional time to ensure that this title will deliver what its fans expect and deserve. As a result, we will now be launching sequels to several of our strongest franchises – including BioShock 2, Mafia II, Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption – during the next fiscal year. These titles will anchor our lineup for fiscal 2010, and along with other products planned for next year, provide a platform for enhanced financial performance in what we hope will be an improved retail environment.”
The move, which doesn’t spell much for the current investors in the company, could mean big business come the beginning of 2010, if EEDAR analyst Jessie Divnich is to be believed. Divnich applauds the company’s decision, and strikes it as being an appropriate catering to the market, rather than the stockholders. “Take-Two has made a very intrepid move by putting gamers before investors, an act most publishers wouldn’t usually consider, and even though investors are likely to punish Take-Two for this delay, we as gamers should reward them for their persistence on improving game quality over meeting ‘financial expectations.’ A delayed release will not diminish BioShock 2 sales, where a game whose quality didn’t meet consumer expectations definitely would sell fewer units. As far as I am concerned, Take-Two is just moving numbers from one financial year to another.”
More important to the company, he believes, is that the expanding portfolio and the success expectations thereof will help set Take-Two apart, as more than just the “GTA publisher.” “The news of BioShock 2 being delayed into fiscal 2010 has drastically changed my view on the Take-Two.” he said, “…I expect them to dominate fiscal 2010. BioShock 2, Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption, Mafia II, additional Grand Theft Auto Downloadable Content, and the possible launch of Agent should make fiscal 2010 the year of Take-Two. Next year, Take-Two will prove to the video game industry they are more than just a one game publisher.“