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Take-Two Cutting Costs Again Following Sales Decline

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Strauss Zelnick

Take-Two Interactive, the brand behind such popular gaming titles such as the 2K franchise, has officially released their financial results for their third fiscal quarter which ended on December 31st, 2023.

The data demonstrates that the company did beat their guidance and also reported their smallest quarterly net loss since their acquisition of Zynga back in May 2022, but they also reported a decline in sales and bookings.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz.

  • Net revenue: $1.37 billion (down 3% year-over-year)
  • Net loss: $91.6 million (compared to $153 million in the year-ago quarter)
  • Total net bookings: $1.34 billion (down 3% year-over-year%)

Grand Theft Auto 5 and Online, Red Dead Redemption, and Zynga’s lineup performed well during Q3 and exceeded the company’s expectations, but NBA 2K reported  “softness” in NBA 2K24 sales. NBA 2K24 has sold around 7 million, while NBA 2K23 sold around 8 million, a stark dip in sales and recurrent customer spending.

“Remember, this is still a very good news story,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said during a call with GamesIndustry.biz.  “This is the number one-selling sports title in North America, obviously the number one basketball title. We’ve sold-in over 7 million units, and in the fullness of time, NBA 2k24 will generate net bookings in line with NBA2K23. So this is largely a timing matter.”

Zelnick also spoke on the challenges of launches new titles within the mobile market in recent years, and he does see a change in that trend of late.

“I do think it’s been changing of late,” Zelnick said. “Outside of our business, [2023 new release] Monopoly Go is a very significant hit. And inside of our company, we have two significant hits: Match Factory which is doing really, really well, and Top Troops, which is doing extraordinarily well also. And then we have some other titles in-market bubbling up that are looking super-promising.

“I do think it’s a reflection of the consumer rebounding. As you know, in 2022 mobile had its first down year ever, and it’s been recovering ever since. So I’m very encouraged that staying the course and being willing to invest in what we believe is the highest quality mobile interactive entertainment is beginning to pay off.”

Take-Two is carrying out another “cost reduction plan”, but it is unclear how many people may be laid off in the current one, but did warn that the current plan is expected to be “more robust” than the last one.

“After ten years of unbridled industry growth and plenty of company growth, we think it’s time to become really efficient at everything we do, especially in advance of this extraordinary pipeline,” Zelnick said. “We want to make sure we can avail ourselves of the maximum operating leverage possible.

“And remember, our cost profile isn’t just about headcount. Our biggest line-item expense is marketing, actually. So optimizing marketing would be a terrific way to make sure the company gets more efficient.”

 

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Microsoft Bringing Four Games to Rival Consoles

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Microsoft has responded to recent reports that there will be changes to it’s first-party strategy and has confirmed that four game titles will be released on rival consoles.

More specifically, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that ‘Starfield’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ will not be among the four titles heading to other platforms. Both games had a number of candidate platforms, per reports, adding that this is “not a change to our fundamental exclusive strategy.”

“We don’t damage Xbox and we can grow our business using what other platforms have to help us with that,” Spencer said, according to GamesIndustry.biz.  “Looking forward, I think there is an interesting story for us of introducing Xbox franchises to players on other platforms to get them more interested in Xbox. We think there’s a good brand value for Xbox there.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond announced that Activision Blizzard games would begin to be added into Game Pass offerings, starting with Diablo 4, which will be added on March 28th.

Additionally, Bond said that Microsoft is still working on hardware for the future and that their focus regarding the future is “delivering the largest technical leap you will ever have seen in a hardware generation.”

 

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Sega’s Revenue See Rise to $27 Billion

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Sega

Sega Sammy has released its financial report for the nine-month period that officially concluded on December 31st, 2023, and that report that demonstrated a rise in overall sales and profit despite a decrease in sales for Sega’s new titles.

That decline was offset by growth in pachislot and pachinko machines, however Sega had lowered its sales forecasts for the full financial year.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz.

  • Net sales: ¥349.9 billion ($2.3 billion, up 28.7% year-on-year)
  • Operating income: ¥54.4 billion ($364 million, up 42.4% year-on-year)
  • Ordinary income: ¥57.2 billion ($383 million, up 42.7% year-on-year)
  • Net sales were up 130.3% to ¥120.2 billion ($805 million) in this segment
  • Ordinary income increased by 521.3% at ¥45.7 billion ($306 million).
  • Entertainment Contents segment, which includes video games, net sales were up 4.2% at ¥219.3 billion
  • Profit decreased by 52.5% to ¥19.7 billion ($131.8 million) as a result of weak game sales

You can read a breakdown of the entire report at GamesIndustry.biz here.

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CVC Capital Partners, Haveli Investments Acquire Jagex

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Jagex

CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments have reached an agreement to acquire RuneScape developer Jagex from Carlyle Group, according to Sky News.

While financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed publicly, the Sky News report indicates that CVC was planning to spend £900 million on the purchase of Jagex.

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners is one of the world’s largest private equity firms and Austin-based Haveli Investments is an established games investor.

CVC Capital Partners has previously backed Dead by Daylight creator Behaviour Interactive, London-based Predecessor developer Omeda Studios, and Tel Aviv-based Match Masters studio Candivore.

Jagex has more than 700 staff worldwide, and is best known for its RuneScape franchise and is currently working on the PC and console launch of Scum by Gamepires sometimes in 2024.

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