In an earnings call today, Take Two executives worked revenue drops, the word "Beaterator," a denial of a digital distribution sea-change and praise for Rockstar into one conversation. This is how they did it:
*Take-Two lost $US10.1 million in the quarter ending April 30, 2009, with revenue dropping more than half compared to the same period last year, down to $US229.7 million, largely due to Grand Theft Auto IV boosting numbers last Q2 of 2008 and this corresponding quarter's big games, like Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, not doing the same. More numbers in the company's official Q2 earnings release.
*Take Two confirmed the fall release of Rockstar's long-in-development Beaterator (covered here in early 2007), describing it as a "powerful and intuitive music mixer," that will support downloadable music. The software had originally been pitched to media as a PSP title that was being created in conjunction with Timbaland. Neither Sony's handheld platform nor the renowned producer were mentioned in today's announcements, with the Beaterator's platform listed as "TBA."
*Take Two won't say how well Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned sold, with an executive noting that "we're not disclosing those numbers and it is not our typical practice that we would."
*The company denied the demise of brick-and-mortar retail for the gaming industry, which some gaming pundits have been predicting. Said a Take Two senior exec: "Retail is the primary channel for the foreseeable future."
*Asked about the recently announced deal that allows the top team at Rockstar to create games that they own, a Take Two executive declined to provide much of a progress report beyond noting that: "All of us will be blown away and consumers will be delighted by these upcoming releases."
That's it for this quarter. I promise in three months' time to learn the difference between chairman Strauss Zelnick's voice, CEO Ben Feder's and any others so I can specify which top guy said which on the call.