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Borderlands 2 smashes projections, but Take-Two still takes a loss

Borderlands 2 DLC and online passes carry the day for Take-Two Interactive, which despite considerably exceeding projections still reported a significant loss in the last three months.
In an earnings call with investors this afternoon, Take-Two Interactive reported "better than expected" performance, pulling ahead of projections to report a net loss of $61.9 million for the quarter, over estimates of $124.68 million and an improvement over last year's reported loss of $110.8 million. The $61.9 million net loss includes a $29.6 million impairment for capitalized software development for a 2K title. However, Take-Two declined to state whether the project was still in development or cancelled. Net revenue for the quarter was also down year-over-year, dropping from $226.1 million in the same period in 2012 to $142.7 million. Take-Two cited a comparatively sparser release schedule for contributing to the disparity. The one major release for the quarter, BioShock Infinite, performed admirably with 4 million units shipped. Overall, the news could be worse for the recovering publisher, which subsequently bumped up its forecasted revenues for the year, from $1.85 billion to $1.875 billion at the high end. Digitally delivered goods constituted a record 52 percent of sales, propped up considerably by Borderlands 2 DLC and season passes. With 7 million units shipped as of end of June, Borderlands 2 is "on track to become the highest-selling title in the history of 2K," said CEO Strauss Zelnick. Other strong earners in Take-Two's portfolio included NBA 2K13, Grand Theft Auto IV (with 25 million units shipped to date, 11 million sold through in the first month of launch in 2008) and BioShock Infinite. Infinite is expected to become the highest-selling entry in the BioShock franchise. The publisher was especially confident in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V, due out this September, to help put the company back on track. The Grand Theft Auto franchise's fifth numbered entry will enjoy three times the installed base of its predecessor and is expected to become the top-performing title not just for its franchise but Take-Two overall. However, with Grand Theft Auto V's launch straddling a hardware transition, there remains room for uncertainty. Zelnick observed that while there are more consoles out on the market at the moment, attach rates for software (units of software sold per hardware) are lower at the end of the console cycle.

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