Take-Two Interactive Software said first-day sales of “Grand Theft Auto V” topped US$800 million worldwide, surpassing the record set by “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” last November.
The debut was the biggest ever for the company or for “Grand Theft Auto,” Take-Two said in a statement. It also beat the $500m reported for the last “Call of Duty,” which publisher Activision Blizzard said then was an opening-day record.
The fast start is outpacing projections for as much as $1 billion at retail in the first month. Revenue from the first two weeks of “Grand Theft Auto” alone may exceed estimates for all of Take-Two during the quarter that ends in September, according to Michael Olson, an analyst with Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, who has a buy rating on the stock.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the launch,” chief executive Strauss Zelnick said Wednesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in New York.
“Our initial forecast of 14 million units by the end of the September quarter now appears very conservative,” Mr Olson wrote in a research note. He said the game could sell as many as 25m units by the end of March.
Customers purchased 10m to 12m copies in the first 24 hours, Olson said. His estimate of 14m units sold in the first two weeks “now appears extremely conservative,” he said.
“Grand Theft Auto” is the linchpin in Take-Two’s forecast for fiscal 2014 sales growth of as much as 53 per cent, to $1.88bn, a projection the company made in July. The product is also testing demand for console-based titles as Sony and Microsoft prepared to introduce new video-game devices.
The results imply that after retailers take their cut, revenue Take-Two receives from “Grand Theft Auto” by month’s end will surpass the $794m that analysts modeled for the company during the entire second quarter, Mr Olson said. The company had one other major release during the period, “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.”
* Bloomberg News