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NBA 2K17, Mafia III and GTA drive unexpectedly high earnings for Take-Two

Thanks to games new and old, Take-Two reports a profitable first quarter (after suffering a loss this time last year) as its share of digital sales and microtransactions continue to rise.

Take-Two Interactive closed out the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year on June 30th, and in a report to investors today the game company says both revenues and profits during the quarter rose year-over-year thanks to the strong earnings generated by games like NBA 2K17 and Grand Theft Auto Online.

The big notable takeaway here is that Take-Two had a profitable first quarter; the company says it earned $60.2 million in profits on $418.2 million in net revenue, which is significantly better than the $38.5 million loss it reported on $311.5 million in revenue generated during the same period last year.

So what changed? For one, the publisher has more high-profile games in the market; during this period last year, Take-Two's top earners were Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V (and GTA Online), Gearbox's Battleborn, and Visual Concept's NBA 2K16. This time around, it's GTA V and OnlineNBA 2K17, plus Hangar 13's Mafia III and Firaxis Games' Civilization VI. 

Take-Two also continues to see a rise in earnings from "recurrent consumer spending" -- in-game microtransactions for things like DLC and virtual currency. During the quarter such spending accounted for nearly half (41 percent) of the company's total net revenue, up from the 31 percent share it claimed during the same period a year ago.

"Our results were led by the ongoing extraordinary performance of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online, strong demand for NBA 2K17 – which is now our highest-selling sports title ever – and increased recurrent consumer spending," stated company chief Strauss Zelnick in a press release

Citing its "better-than-expected" performance this quarter, the company has raised its earnings forecasts for its current fiscal year. By the time it draws to a close on March 31st, 2018, Take-Two now expects to have made $109 - $104 million in profits on $1.6 - $1.7 billion in revenue.

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