Almost eight years after “Grand Theft Auto V” was released, Take-Two Interactive’s biggest game is selling better than ever, CEO Strauss Zelnick told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday.
The video game, the latest major version of the “Grand Theft Auto” title series from the game developer’s Rockstar Games division, sold approximately 20 million copies in 2020 and has sold 140 million units since its release. Two’s corporate earnings reports.
“We are grateful for the incredible work that Rockstar Games has done with ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto Online’,” said Zelnick in an interview on “Mad Money”. “It is absolutely amazing that ‘Grand Theft Auto’ has sold more units on the 2020 calendar than in any year since its original release in 2013. It’s just extraordinary.”
Since the action-adventure franchise was first released in the late 1990s, Rockstar Games has sold more than 335 million units of the series, Take-Two announced in its latest quarterly report on Monday. For the company’s third fiscal quarter, Take-Two posted net bookings of $ 814 million and earnings per share of $ 1.24, exceeding analyst estimates.
Net bookings make up both digital and physical sales.
During the three-month period ended December 31, Take-Two’s net bookings were 8% down from the $ 888 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Despite the last quarter’s decline in business, net bookings rose 22% in the first three quarters of fiscal 2021. Recurring consumer spending, which sales are expected to continue in the future, rose 30% and accounted for 58% of net bookings, the company said.
The growth in net bookings was driven in large part by the game franchises Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K and Mafia.
“Grand Theft Auto,” which took Take-Two’s fiscal year up $ 227 million in revenue, isn’t the company’s only winner.
“We have a lot of other franchises: 11 franchises have sold at least 5 million each with a single release; 67 franchises have at least a 2 million release,” Zelnick said. “I don’t think any other company can say that. And we’re trying to do more.”
Much like the subscriber growth in video streaming subscriptions, the video game industry has benefited from consumers seeking more entertainment at home amid the pandemic, Zelnick said. After attracting new players and reactivating existing ones, Take-Two expects the post-pandemic trends to continue, he said.
“We don’t have to have everyone’s lunch to be successful. However, there has been a systematic shift in favor of interactive entertainment, which is still the fastest growing part of the audiovisual entertainment business,” he said. “I think this will continue.”
Take-Two raised its outlook for fiscal year 2021, which is expected to be completed by the end of March. The company anticipates net bookings for the current quarter to be between $ 602 and 652 million, while for the fiscal year net bookings will be between $ 3.37 and $ 3.42 billion. Take-Two previously forecast net bookings between $ 3.15 billion and $ 3.25 billion.
Take-Two’s shares sold more than 6% on Tuesday, bringing the stock to $ 200.31 at the close of trading. The decline has depressed the share by 3.6% since the beginning of the year.