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Take-Two, maker of L.A. Noire video game, posts a loss

August 09, 2011|By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. posted a loss in the last quarter as sales of its latest big video game title, L.A. Noire, fell short of last year's blockbuster release, Red Dead Redemption.

The New York game publisher recorded $334.4 million in revenue for its first quarter, which ended June 30 — down 11% from $375.4 million a year earlier. It lost $8.6 million, or 11 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a profit of $27.4 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier.

Nevertheless, Take-Two said it expected to end its fiscal year in the black for the second year in a row. Doing so would demonstrate that Take-Two can still succeed during years when it does not have a major release of its Grand Theft Auto franchise, which in the past has made up the bulk of the company's profits.

Last year, Take-Two's release of Red Dead Redemption proved to be a critical as well as a commercial hit, with 11 million copies sold to date. This May, Take-Two debuted L.A. Noire, a crime investigation game that takes place in post-World War II Los Angeles. Although that title has not sold as well as Red Dead Redemption, it has sold 4 million copies so far, said Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two's chief executive.

"It's a great result," said Zelnick, who cautioned against side-by-side comparisons between any two titles.

Another title released last quarter, Duke Nukem Forever, was largely panned by reviewers, scoring just 54 points out of 100 on Metacritic, a site that aggregated 47 reviews of the game. Nevertheless, Take-Two expects the game to be profitable and is likely to continue the franchise, Zelnick said in an interview.

The company's shares dropped $1.07, or 8.8%, to close at $11.07 on Monday before earnings were announced.

alex.pham@latimes.com

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