Announcing no release date changes but allowing for some speculation about an unannounced 2010 game, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take Two Interactive held its last investors' conference call of the calendar year. And Borderlands, it was confirmed, is a franchise.
The purpose of the call was to announce Take Two's financial performance in the final quarter of its 2009 fiscal year, ending on Halloween. For that quarter, the company reported a revenue loss of $US22 million off of earnings of $US343 million. More than half of the company's revenue came from the Xbox 360, compared to a little over a fifth for the PlayStation 3 and 5 per cent for the Wii.
For gamers, the highlight may have been the announcement that Borderlands has sold more than two million copies. In a press release accompanying the money news, Take Two affirmed the game's future, using the word "franchise" that usually suggests sequels are coming: "Borderlands from 2K Games has now sold over two million units worldwide and has established itself as a key franchise for Take-Two, for which the Company has long-term publishing rights." (They've been saying this a lot.)
The publisher has 33 games in development, chief financial officer Lainie Goldstein said, compared to about 36 in the past year. Her count would include both announced games such as the widely-publicised BioShock 2 and Max Payne 3 as well as lower-profile but significant developments such as a version of Civilization tailored for Facebook and Spec Ops: The Line, which debuted during the Spike Video Game Awards this past weekend. Goldstein said on the call that Take Two had unannounced "smaller titles" planned for its next fiscal year, ending on Halloween 2010 as well as an unannounced title for the August-October quarter. She gave no indication as to what that unannounced game would be, though her placement of it outside the "smaller titles" context and within the quarter Take Two often releases its biggest games raises the chance she was talking about a major game.
Company chairman Strauss Zelnick dodged a question about when the next Grand Theft Auto would be released, saying the publisher has not announced any new iterations. He also shot down an analyst's suggestion that Take Two should skip making baseball games next year in order to stop the $US30-35-million losses projected due to the company's contract with Major League Baseball. "The projected losses are significant," he said. "We're taking them seriously... they wouldn't be further mitigated by not putting out a release."