Grand Theft Auto IV Predicted To Sell Nine Million Copies

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Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is calling for Take-Two’s upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV to sell over nine million units during the course of the fiscal year, but also criticized the publisher for failing to properly leverage its top franchises.

Pachter further predicted Take-Two to ship six million units of Grand Theft Auto IV in the first week of the game’s release, and said the greatly anticipated title will provide $450 million of the company’s expected $1.073 billion publishing revenue. But that success, he said, would not be enough to compensate for an otherwise flat game catalog for 2008 and 2009, caused largely by Take-Two’s failure to provide timely sequels to its top franchises.

“As we look at Take-Two’s lineup, we see GTA IV, and several games that look much like Take-Two games from past years,” Pachter said in a report by GamesIndustry. “We are fans of Midnight Club, but question the decision to delay the game’s launch into the competitive Burnout and Need for Speed window as ill-advised. We also note that the Q4 2008 launch of Midnight Club will mark three and a half years between versions of the game, highlighting Take-Two’s failure to “sequelize” its key franchises on a regular basis.”

He also expressed skepticism about upcoming Take-Two releases including Top Spin 3, Don King Presents: Prizefighter and Carnival Games: Mini Golf. “These games appear to us like the Manhunt, BIGS, All-Pro Football, Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four games of last year,” he said, “when the company generated a net operating loss of more than $100 million.”

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