Take-Two Reports Narrower Loss, Game Delay

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. reported a narrower loss in its fiscal first quarter, but said it would delay the introduction of the high-profile "Evolve" videogame for the latest consoles.

The New York-based company, which reaffirmed its financial guidance for the year, said it was able to surpass its financial projections due to stronger-than-expected sales of existing content delivered digitally.

Take-Two did not launch any major titles in April-June, traditionally considered low season for the industry as most game makers move release dates closer to the busy holiday season in the end of the year.

"It's gratifying to beat our quarter without having any new frontline releases," said Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two's chairman and chief executive.

Take-Two plans to roll out several new games in the fall, including "Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth," a new strategy game in the popular series.

One long-awaited title expected for the fall line-up is missing, however. "Evolve," a shooting game for the next- generation game consoles, Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 4, is now slated to arrive in February 2015.

"We'll have a bit more development time which we think the title deserves," said Zelnick.

Take-Two is offering only one game for next-generation consoles at the moment, "NBA 2K14." The game will be replaced by "NBA 2K15" in October 2014.

"WWE 2K15," another sports title that will be available for the new consoles, is slated to arrive that month too, followed by the company's biggest revenue driver, the action game "Grand Theft Auto V." Its version for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is coming in the fall.

The company has also announced its new action game for next-generation consoles, "Battleborn," that's slated to release in the next fiscal year.

Take-Two reported a loss for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30 of $35.4 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with the year-earlier loss of $61.9 million, or 71 cents a share. Revenue slid 12% to $125.4 million.

The company stresses financial results that exclude deferred revenue and several other items, such as stock-based compensation and reorganization expenses.

With those items excluded, Take-Two's loss narrowed to 14 cents a share on $151.6 million in sales. Analysts had projected a loss on that basis of 26 cents a share on revenue of $135 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Take-Two reaffirmed its guidance for the year with those items excluded, at per-share earnings of 80 cents to $1.05 on sales of $1.35 billion to $1.45 billion.

Write to Nick Shchetko at mikalai.shchatsko@wsj.com

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