Take that, Take-Two Interactive
Shares of the renegade video game maker opened 6% lower this morning, despite posting better-than-expected results for its fiscal second quarter.
Revenue climbed 7% to $256.8 million. Compared to last year's net loss of $0.52 a share, this year's $0.66 per-share loss looks grim, but Wall Street was looking for a deficit of $0.73 a share on just $209.8 million in revenue.
So who is throwing the pity party? Take-Two itself! The company's guidance isn't encouraging. The publisher and distributor of sometimes notorious gamer magnets like Bully and Manhunter expects to lose between $0.10 and $0.20 a share on $200 million-$220 million in revenue for the current quarter. Analysts were banking on a profit of $0.03 a share on $264.6 million in revenue.
It also doesn't help that Take-Two's list of winning titles during the holiday quarter includes games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Carnival Games, which have been around for several quarters now. It's great to see GTA4 top the 13 million-unit shipment mark during the period since last year's springtime release, but what has Take-Two done for shareholders lately?
It rebuffed Electronics Arts
This doesn't mean that hope is lost for the Rule Breakers newsletter recommendation. It has a chance to make a killing this year in digital delivery, if its deal to deliver episodic installments to the GTA4 franchise directly to Microsoft
Digital delivery will be a big theme for software companies like EA and Take-Two in the future, but retailers are starting to fight back.
If software studios were peeved that GameStop
Software companies thought they had a new-media way to cut out the middlemen, but now the middlemen are drumming up new ways to cut out the originators.
That's the way the game is played these days. Smarting shareholders at the pity party better hope they don't run into Take-Two execs by the punch bowl. Who knows how many times they'll be asked about their decision to turn down EA last year?
Some songs for the Take-Two mix tape on the drive home:
Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Take-Two Interactive is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Amazon.com, Electronic Arts, and GameStop are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has played a few of the Grand Theft Auto games, though he's never been much of a carjacker. 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.