Grand Theft Auto Delay Likely to Bring Analyst Downgrades and Lower Estimates

GameStop shelves
GameStop shelves

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) has stubbed its toe yet again. Late in 2012 the video game publisher announced that its release of the Grand Theft Auto 5 would come in early 2013. It even allowed vouchers to be sold for Christmas as the Grand Theft Auto franchise has been a major hit for Take-Two's Rockstar Games label.

Those vouchers are now not going to be as favorable. Take-Two has now said that the release date is not scheduled until September. The company said that it was proud to announce that Grand Theft Auto V is expected to launch worldwide for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation3 computer entertainment system on September 17, 2013. Proud? I think they meant "ashamed."

Take-Two said, "The September release date moves the launch back from its original projected release window of spring 2013 in order to allow additional development time." With the four titles before this having sold more than 125 million units in the first four games, Take-Two needs to understand that it cannot be proud about this delay.

Take-Two shares are down 6.2% at $12.24, against a 52-week range of $7.37 to $16.99. While the market cap is still more than $1.1 billion, this is going to greatly lower the sales expectations for the next two or three quarters from Wall St. analysts. Unfortunately that will be bad for development costs and bad for sales and earnings in the first, second and third quarters of this year.

Before the impact of this effort, Thomson Reuters had a consensus price target of $14.88 from 14 brokerage firms.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Media, Video Games Tagged: TTWO