Take-Two Interactive is pushing back the release of its hotly-anticipated BioShock 2—and has been forced to lower guidance for its fiscal year 2009 by as much as $190 million as a result. (Not good for a company trying to come back from sequential quarterly losses).
The game, a sequel to the 2007 best-seller BioShock, was slated for release later this year; CEO Ben Feder said the publisher wanted to spend more time on development. The new release date will be in the first half of calendar 2010—meaning it will miss the holiday game sales rush. The news sent Take-Two’s shares down by as much as 13 percent ($7.76) in after-hours trading, though some analysts, like EEDAR’s Jesse Divinich, are viewing it as a positive move in the long run:
“Take-Two (NSDQ: TTWO) has made a very intrepid move by putting gamers before investors, an act most publishers wouldnt usually consider ... Now, I expect them to dominate fiscal 2010,” Divinch said, rattling off a list of titles, including BioShock 2, Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption, that the publisher would be releasing next year. “As far as I am concerned, Take-Two is just moving numbers from one financial year to another.”
The decision to push back for the sake of game quality does make sense—particularly if Take-Two wants to get out from under the bias that its a “one-trick pony” beholden to strong GTA sales if it wants to survive. A critically-acclaimed, well-received BioShock 2 could drive record-breaking sales next year; a game released this year full of bugs or otherwise subpar gameplay could have ended up tarnishing Take-Two’s brand equity—and stunting sales of its future titles. Release.
By Tameka Kee