Sometimes there’s just no pleasing those industry watchers over in Wall Street, and today Take Two is at the sharper end of the analysts’ cynicism. Although San Andreas is about to roll out into stores, possibly as the biggest selling game ever, financially-speaking, the publisher isn’t as untouchable as one might imagine.
P.J. McNealy has made some strong predictions for GTA itself, suggesting it might shift 4.5 million units in its first week, possibly amounting to a total of 15 million sales over time. That is an indisputably impressive figure, but even with this behind it, Take Two’s share value has slipped today; with analyst Gary Cooper of Bank of America Securities re-categorising Take Two shares from a recommended “buy” status to an apathetic “neutral” one.
Although the slip in value was inevitable eventually, having initially been pushed up by the positive prospects for GTA, it does emphasise the point that Cooper had made: “Beyond GTA, there remains no other blockbuster releases in Take Two’s line-up”. Indeed, glancing at the likes of Midnight Club 3 – the release of which is wedged between two very similar games, EA’s Need For Speed Underground 2 and the THQ acquired Juiced, as well as The Warriors – a gang warfare based game that will struggle to peer out from GTA’s shadow, there is very little there that looks to make an impact on the charts.
If Take Two wants to capitalise on the success of GTA, it seems it needs some new angles to penetrate the market. As Michael Pachter, from Wedbush Morgan Securities stated, “People like being the bad guy. [GTA SA] is a way of acting out a stupid fantasy.” But if the company wishes to elevate itself to the kind of status the likes of EA and Ubisoft currently enjoy, it may need to become more than the one-trick pony analysts presently believe it to be.