Sunday, July 14, 2024

‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Sets Fall 2025 Release as Take-Two Posts $2.9 Billion Quarterly Loss

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Grand Theft Auto VI” has been slated for a release in the autumn of 2025 by Rockstar Games.

The news was announced Thursday when Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive reported its fourth-quarter and full fiscal year 2024 earnings, revealing the company posted a $2.9 billion loss for the Jan. 1-March 31 period.

Take-Two’s most recent guidance for the quarter had been a loss between $170 million to $153 million. The company says the fiscal Q4 loss of $2.9 billion included a $2.18 billion goodwill charge, a $304.3 million hit for acquisition-related expenses, and restructuring costs of $93.3 million.

Take-Two is not prepared to get more specific than “Fall 2025” for the “GTA VI” release date, with CEO Strauss Zelnick saying, “I think we’re going to leave it there for now,” in an interview with Variety ahead of the company’s quarterly earnings call at 4:30 p.m. ET Thursday. “That [announcement] will come from Rockstar and be consistent with the way they are marketing the title,” Zelnick said.

The trailer for the eagerly-anticipated “Grand Theft Auto VI” smashed viewership records on YouTube when it was released in December, indicating the extreme demand for the title after more than a decade since the release of “GTA V.”

The Take-Two chief also addressed the recent layoffs made at the company — and throughout the gaming-industry at-large — saying he does not anticipate further cuts to come.

“We feel like we’re in a very good place now,” Zelnick said. “We’ve had three cost-reduction programs in recent memory: $100 million program, which we exceeded as part of the Zynga integration in 2022, a $50-million program, which we exceeded, and now, most recently, a $165-million program of cost containment and actual cost-reduction. Our three-part strategy is to be the most creative, most efficient and the most innovative company in the entertainment business. We don’t always get there, but we certainly do try. This puts us in a very sound footing from an efficiency point of view.

Zelnick says he expects for Take-Two to close its acquisition of Gearbox “relatively soon,” which will bring the developer of “Borderlands” and “Tiny Tina’s Wonderland” in house for the franchises’ publisher 2K. He also anticipates sequential topline growth for Take-Two in fiscal 2025, 2026 and 2027.

For Take-Two’s latest quarter, Wall Street forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 9 cents on $1.3 billion in net bookings, according to analyst consensus data provided by LSEG, formerly Refinitiv. Take-Two reported a loss per share of $17.02 on $1.35 billion in net bookings, as compared to the year-ago quarter when it reported a loss of $610.3 million and net bookings of $1.39 billion.

Driving net bookings for the quarter were “NBA 2K24,” which sold more than 9 million units, “Grand Theft Auto Online” and “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Toon Blast,” “Empires & Puzzles,” and mobile games “Red Dead Redemption 2” and “Red Dead Online,” “WWE 2K24,” “Match Factory!,” “Words With Friends” and “Merge Dragons!”

For the full-year fiscal 2024, which included results from April 1, 2023-March 31, 2024, Take-Two reported $5.35 billion in total revenue and net loss of $3.7 billion.

Take-Two is projecting net bookings of $5.55 to $5.65 billion for its fiscal year 2025, which runs April 1, 2024-March 31, 2025, and a net loss between $674 and $606 million.

“Grand Theft Auto VI” will be released during Take-Two’s fiscal year 2026, meaning the company is not attributing any of that estimated fiscal 2025 revenue to the game’s forthcoming release.

For the current April 1-June 30, 2024 quarter, Take-Two forecasts net bookings of $1.2 to $1.25 billion and revenue of $1.3 to $1.5 billion. Net loss is projected between $272 and $245 million at a loss of $1.58 to $1.43 per share.

Take-Two stock closed Thursday at $146.08 per share. The regular U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET on Friday.

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