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Lies, Damned Lies, and Take Two Interactive Release Dates

By Perry Rod, Published: May 23rd, 2011 2:25 PM CDT

Investors are often taught to look forward, not backward.  With video game publisher Take Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), in particular, investors have been encouraged to look to the future and away from a messy past.  However, sometimes the past can expose consistencies that require attention.

Get this.  In the last five fiscal years reviewed from FY08 onward, Take Two Interactive has delayed every single major non-sports AAA title at least one time.  And not only that, most of the delays were from one fiscal year into the next.


The sources of these dates are from Take Two’s own official press releases:

Grand Theft Auto 4 – delayed for 2 quarters, devastated the stock price and was pushed out of FY07 and into FY08

Bioshock 2 – announced in early 2008 as an official FY09 title, the game was pushed into FY10

Red Dead Redemption – announced as an official FY09 title, the game was delayed into mid FY10

Mafia 2 – announced in 2007 and later received an official FY09 release date, delayed almost a year into late FY10

L.A. Noire – originally announced as an official FY08 release, the release date was later withdrawn and a year later was turned into an official FY10 release.  It has now been released in Take Two’s new FY12, giving this title the distinction of the longest delay, over three years.


The shortest delay of an officially announced title is upcoming release, Duke Nukem Forever, which was delayed for one month.  Of course, the irony about that is Duke Nukem Forever is probably considered the most delayed title in video game history at somewhere around ten years.  Take Two Interactive is the publisher and not the developer of this title.

Another critical mention is Max Payne 3, which was called a 2009 release in 2008 and later received an official FY10 release date.  That was withdrawn in late 2010 in the same way L.A. Noire’s date was withdrawn in 2009 and the title’s new release date plan is unknown.

In the most recent quarter earnings press release, Take Two announced that investors should expect Spec Ops: The Line and X-Com in FY12, along with Bioshock Infinite in “calendar 2012”.  Will these be delayed, continuing the trend?  Lookout, Take Two’s record on delays is unusually consistent.

The next question is, will Take Two announce dates for announced title Agent or the next Grand Theft Auto, and should investors count on those dates?  Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan has been stating that Grand Theft Auto will in fact come this fiscal year and has floated a rumor that an Activision representative suggested to him that Take Two may have a major announcement the day before E3.  The stock has seen considerable speculative buying activity in recent days.

Take Two produces high quality titles, but investors have oftentimes paid a high price to play.  Take Two does not guarantee that games will not be delayed, and analysts and investors ought to pay attention.

Related: TTWO

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