December 18, 2002 - Take-Two Interactive Software reported Tuesday that sales of the gargantuan mega-hit Grand Theft Auto: Vice City have bolstered the company's fourth quarter profits.
The company raised its fiscal 2003 guidance, as its ascending stock rose to $26.46. It posted a net profit for the quarter (which ended in October) of $22.3 million (54 cents per share), compared with a year-earlier loss of $4.7 million (13 cents per share).
...wait, hold on a minute. You're all thinking, "Who gives a crap? What about Vice City for the PC?! Damn you people, I hope you burn in hell!" Well, before we find our way to the firey future, know that Vice City for the PC has indeed been confirmed for 2003. They won't say exactly when of course, but I guess we're all used to that annoyance by now. Also on the list of fun and fancy is the sequel to last year's lovely actioner, Max Payne. No word on what's involved in that game, although we know that it isn't due until 2004. This of course leads me to believe that there has to be a new engine involved, or at least a significantly upgraded one, as this will be post DOOM III.
Okay, now back to the boring stuff. While the rest of videogame companies have generally lost stock share due to investors concerns about the shopping season, Take-Two shares are up 52% from 2001. Only Electronic Arts has kept its shares higher, while other leaders in the sector, Activision and THQ, have seen stocks tumble.
Take-Two executives said they now expect sales of $950 million and earnings per share of $2.20 for fiscal 2003, based on Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City sales. For first quarter of fiscal 2003 (including the current holiday shopping season), Tale-Two expects sales of $355 million with of earnings of $1.14 per share. In the second quarter, Take-Two expects $190 million in sales and EPS of 34 cents.
In a conference call to discuss the quarter's results, Chief Financial
Officer Karl Winters said, "We believe we can modestly increase our gross profit margins beyond the 37.3 percent level we achieved for this year."
You can expect to see some high quality titles from Take 2 next year with such sequels as Railroad Tycoon III, Serious Sam 2, Tropico 2, and Hidden & Dangerous 2. Not too shabby, although with around 70 projects in the works at the moment, I don't think we can count on all of them being so high profile. Keep an eye out for info on all of Take 2's titles as they get closer to release.