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Video Games

Take-Two's first quarter beats expectations on game and content downloads

Game maker's revenue rises and loss narrows, but it chooses to delay a key game by several months.

Rockstar Games / Take-Two

Take-Two Interactive Software reported better than expected quarterly sales for its fiscal first quarter as gamers continued buying older games and additional levels and maps at a rapid pace.

The game maker, best known for its "Grand Theft Auto" franchise, said sales rose five percent in the quarter ended June 30 to $151.6 million, after adjustments for deferred revenue and other items. The company's adjusted loss narrowed to 14 cents per share from a loss of 54 cents a year ago. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to report a loss of 26 cents on revenue of $135 million, according to surveys by Thomson Reuters.

"The results look to be strong and favorable," said Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two's chief executive, in an interview. Sales are particularly strong among its full-game downloads of older titles, such as its NBA basketball titles, and in-game currency to buy items for the company's GTA Online service.

Take-Two's better-than-expected results represent the latest sign in the New York game maker's continued attempt to remake itself into a consistently profitable company. In the past five years, the company has released a string of hits including the western drama Red Dead Redemption, the action adventure game Bioshock Infinite and the space age shooter series Borderlands, all of which contributed to its success.

Grand Theft Auto V, the latest in its popular franchise, raked in more than $1 billion in its first three days after its launch in September last year, an industry record.

Take-Two hoped to expand the game with GTA Online, a component of the title that allows players to interact online and build their own vehicles, pull off heists, and other activities in the game's fictional world. So far, Zelnick said, he's pleased by its results but has chosen not to release specifics about its success yet.

Zelnick said he plans to continue supporting GTA Online in particular as the company prepares to launch a remastered version of Grand Theft Auto V for PCs and newer video game consoles later this year.

The company is also expanding its efforts for mobile devices, recently announcing it plans to release the first installment of its Bioshock series for Apple's mobile devices sometime this summer.

Take-Two, however, did delay one of its games. The company said its well-regarded battle game "Evolve," which had been slated for a fall release, will now launch on Feb. 10, 2015, a delay of several months that Zelnick attributed to efforts to add additional polish.

"I feel really great about our release schedule," he added.

UPDATE 1:40 PM: Corrects the fiscal quarter number, which had been incorrectly written as the second quarter. It was the first quarter.