Take-Two Interactive Software reported revenues today that beat analyst expectations for the first-fiscal quarter ended June 30. This means that revenues were surprisingly strong at a time when the video game publisher had no major releases.
This also means that ongoing stalwarts such as Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V continue to prop up sales, even as the hot release of the fall, Red Dead Redemption 2, isn’t doing as well as might be expected. The company’s stock price fell 5% today after U.S. President Donald Trump called out video games for contributing to a culture that glorifies violence. But the stock has risen to $123.05 a share, up 6.7%, in after-hours trading.
Analyst had expected non-GAAP earnings per share of 4 cents on revenue of $356.9 million. But Take-Two reported GAAP net income of 41 cents a share on revenues of $540.5 million, up 39% from $388 million a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported net income of about 27 cents a share on revenue of $422 million, way above guidance, said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, in an email.
The company credited revenues from NBA 2K19, Grand Theft Auto Online, and Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online, the Borderlands franchise, Social Point’s mobile offerings, and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. Take-Two increased its full-year revenue estimates as a result of the better performance in the first fiscal quarter.
Red Dead Redemption 2, the Western epic from Take-Two’s Rockstar Games label that was more than seven years in the making, has been a big part of revenues since the title debuted on October 26, and it sold 23 million copies in the holiday quarter. But it has stalled since then, as the company said today it has sold-in 25 million copies to date.
Red Dead Online and Grand Theft Auto Online are also contributing to revenues, and Take-Two said that recurrent consumer spending was up 31% and accounted for 58% of GAAP net revenue, thanks to Grand Theft Auto Online and NBA 2K performance.
But neither Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online seem destined to repeat the unprecedented success of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online. GTA V has now sold 110 million units to date. NBA 2K19 sold more than 12 million units. Previous Borderlands series games also helped boost the quarter, with the launch of the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.
“Fiscal 2020 is off to a terrific start with first-quarter operating results that beat our expectations,” said Strauss Zelnick, CEO of New York-based Take-Two, in a statement. “We delivered significant net bookings and cash flow growth driven by the performance of Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, the Borderlands franchise, and Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online.
“As a result of our better-than-expected first-quarter operating results and increased forecast for the balance of the year, we are raising our outlook for fiscal 2020, which is anticipated to be another great year for our organization. We aim to build on this strong start by delivering a robust array of titles throughout the year, including Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, NBA 2K20, Borderlands 3, WWE 2K20, and The Outer Worlds, as well as new and innovative ways for consumers to remain engaged with their favorite entertainment experiences.”
And Zelnick said, “Looking ahead, Take-Two has the strongest development pipeline in its history, including sequels from our biggest franchises as well as exciting new IP. We are exceedingly well-positioned to capitalize on the positive trends in our industry, and to generate significant growth and margin expansion over the long-term.”
Even with the weak summer quarter result, Take-Two is looking forward to the September 13 release of Borderlands 3, the new title from Gearbox Software.
Digital revenue was up 36% to $427.8 million, and it now accounts for 79% of total GAAP net revenue. On August 27, Take-Two will release Patrice Desilets’ Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey via Take-Two’s Private Division label for indie games.
For the full year, GAAP net revenue is expected to hit $2.83 billion to $2.93 billion, with net income ranging from $425 million to $454 million.