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Analyst: Red Dead Redemption Could Sell 4 Million First-Year

Take-Two hopes to build another major Rockstar franchise with Red Dead Redemption, and its efforts could pay off -- one analyst says strong pre-order demand suggests 4 million units in the game's first year.
Take-Two's made a major marketing push behind Red Dead Redemption, aiming for Grand Theft Auto- like top billing for the Western franchise. And such moves make sense: The company makes record-smashing showings with its Grand Theft Auto franchise, but it can't seem to consistently turn profits in non-GTA years. And given Take-Two's fairly regular timeline challenges -- the publisher has a reputation for long development cycles and release delays -- building another blockbuster franchise besides GTA would allay investor concerns and serve the company's balance sheet well. Take-Two's efforts around Red Dead Redemption could pay off, says Cowen group analyst Doug Creutz, who's raised his estimates for the title from 2.2 million to 4.0 million units in its first year based on "very strong pre-order demand." The title has topped best-seller lists at online retailers for weeks, notes the analyst, which indicates "it is poised for breakout success." However, although it sets up the Red Dead franchise as another core property for Take-Two, Creutz says that based on the big time gaps between iterations of Rockstar franchises, another installment might not appear until the next console cycle. Rockstar has said it spent more money than ever from its pre-launch TV budget to promote the title, with the aim of creating "a massive triple-A title." It ran its first-ever cinema ad campaign, placing trailers alongside films like Robin Hood, Iron Man 2 and Prince of Persia.

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