Red Dead Redemption 2's landmark success boosts Take-Two's latest quarterly earnings by upwards of 150%.
Take-Two is an interesting company. Armed with big properties like NBA2K and Grand Theft Auto, the publisher weathers the down periods between game releases with its successful monetization strategies. Rockstar's new outlaw game proved to be worth the wait, earning over $700 million in three days with sales hitting over 23 million copies worldwide to date. The game's success helped the publisher earn over $1 billion in its holiday quarter.
In the three-month quarter from October through December 2018, Take-Two Interactive made $1.249 billion in net revenues, up a tremendous 158% from last year This jump is due to Red Dead Redemption 2's launch as well as strong earnings from NBA 2K19 sales and microtransactions, as well as Social Point mobile games. Recurring consumer spending, or earnings from in-game purchases like microtransactions and DLC, made up $300 million of net revenues, up a mighty 95% year-over-year. NBA 2K19 was the main force in Take-Two's monetization spike.
"As a result of this strong engagement, recurrent consumer spending on NBA 2K grew 39% in the third quarter to a new record and was the largest single contributor to recurrent consumer spending in the period. We expect the net bookings for NBA 2K19, including recurrent consumer spending, will be the highest ever for a 2K sports title," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said in a Fiscal Q3'19 earnings call.
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This meteoric rise isn't exactly what it seems, though: Take-Two lumped deluxe and ultimate editions of RDR2's full game sales into the figures because the SKUs include additional content.
GTA Online is historically the main driver for Take-Two's recurrent consumer spending. GTA Online has slowed down a bit this quarter and aligned to Take-Two's moderation forecast, but is still a consistent driver for earnings. Although it's slowing down, GTAO is far from dead. The publisher says GTA Online will continue alongside Red Dead Online for the foreseeable future, and that Rockstar is working on a lot of new content for the multiplayer game.
"The largest contributors to net revenue in fiscal third quarter 2019 were Red Dead Redemption 2, NBA 2K19 and NBA 2K18, Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, WWE 2K19 and WWE SuperCard, Dragon City and Monster Legends, and Sid Meier's Civilization VI."
Physical revenues outpaced digital this time around, a predictable outcome given RDR2's strong retail earnings. Take-Two pulled in $654 million from physical SKUs, and $595 million from digital (which includes full game sales and microtransactions).
Net bookings also saw a monumental surge by 152% year-over-year to $1.569 billion.
"The largest contributors to Net Bookings in fiscal third quarter 2019 were Red Dead Redemption 2, NBA 2K19, Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, WWE 2K19 and WWE SuperCard, Dragon City and Monster Legends, and Sid Meier's Civilization VI."
Take-Two expects Red Dead Redemption 2 to push Q4 earnings with more sales and engagement monetization in Red Dead Online. The company forecasts total Fiscal Year 2019 net revenues of up to $2.7 billion, and net bookings of up to $2.94 billion.