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By Bob Blandeburgo
Shares of “Grand Theft Auto” maker Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO) took a drubbing yesterday (Tuesday) after it lowered its financial outlook and delayed key video game releases until its next fiscal year.
Take-Two now expects its loss to fall between 65 cents and 75 cents per share and revenue to be between $120 million and $130 million for the quarter ending July 31. Wall Street analysts were expecting a loss of 54 cents and revenue of $162.2 million.
The move reflects reduced sales of catalog products and lower than anticipated initial retailer orders of new releases, it said in a statement.
The company delayed the release of “Bioshock 2,” “Max Payne 3” and “Red Dead Redemption” to fiscal 2010, which starts November 1. It is unclear whether any of these titles will ship in time for the holiday season, a critical time for the $22 billion video game industry.
“The decision to shift a release date is never an easy one, especially with a product as highly anticipated as ‘BioShock 2,’” said Take-Two Chief Executive Officer Ben Feder. “We felt that it was essential to invest the additional time to ensure that this title will deliver what its fans expect and deserve.”
Had “Bioshock 2” not been delayed, Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. analyst Michael Pachter said in a note to investors obtained by The Associated Press. Such a shipment would have generated $90 million in revenue, Pachter said.in Take-Two’s fiscal fourth quarter ending October 31,
Still, Pachter reiterated his “outperform" rating on the company, attributing the rating to next year’s earnings and the next title in the popular “Grand Theft Auto” series, which Take-Two has not given any indication of shipping next year.
Shares of Take-Two closed at $8.10 yesterday, down 9.80%.
Once thought of as recession-proof, the video game industry has suffered a series of tough losses in the last few quarters, particularly with industry giant Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), which has suffered losses in the hundreds of millions this fiscal year.
Despite Take-Two’s delay of key holiday titles, a slew of big-name titles from other players in the industry will propel the stocks of companies that publish video games, particularly Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), a possible second-half wonder as reported by Money Morning.
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