Take-Two and Call Me in the Mourning

Oh, no! It's another Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO  ) mugging. Shares of the renegade video game maker fell 4% yesterday, as poor earnings and a grim near-term outlook spooked investors away from the beleaguered stock.

True to its name, the company did give its investors two quarterly reports to chew on. The accounting-scandal-plagued company has been auditing and restating its financials, so shareholders have been waiting for the July- and October-ending quarterly reports for several months now.

The news wasn't worth the wait. The company lost a ton of money, posting a full-year loss of $2.60 a share on a 13% decline in net revenue. Even if you back out a laundry list of charges, the sheets are still dirty here.

But October, when Take-Two's fiscal 2006 concluded, feels so long ago. Do you even remember what your kids wore on Halloween? The news destined to drive yesterday's trading was the company's guidance for fiscal 2007, and it just wasn't pretty. Take-Two expects to simply break even for the current fiscal year. It will restore net revenue to its fiscal 2005 level, but the lack of profitability stings.

We're now in a transitory phase in video game consoles. It's tricky for software publishers to strike it rich when new systems have small installed bases, and owners of older systems don't want to weigh down their video game collections with what could be eventual paperweights.

However, those excuses ring hollow when you stack Take-Two against its peers. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS  ) , THQ (Nasdaq: THQI  ) , and Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) are all looking to produce fat profits this year.

The hopeful can point to fiscal 2008 for redemption, and it's easy to see why. Grand Theft Auto IV hits stores in October, and it should be a big seller heading into the holidays. However, this October feels almost as far away as last October. Who knows how many more muggings we'll bump into between now and then?

Come to think of it, who knows how many times we'll change our minds in picking out the ideal Halloween costume? Do you have the Grim Reaper in a bigger size?

EA and Activision are both Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. To see what other great stocks have been recommended to the market-crushing newsletter, take a free 30-day trial today.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is old enough to remember playing on an Atari 2600 before it became a relic. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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