Take-Two made the not-entirely-surprising announcement yesterday that BioShock 2 would not be ready in time for the 2009 Christmas season and will instead be launched in the first half of 2010. Fans of the series were understandably upset by the news, as were investors; Take-Two's share price was down by more than 13 percent in the wake of the announcement.
But analysts are seeing an upside to the delay, which will result in an exceptionally strong lineup of releases in 2010. "The news of BioShock 2 being delayed into fiscal 2010 has drastically changed my view on Take-Two. I originally anticipated that Take-Two would outperform the industry in fiscal 2010. Now, I expect them to dominate fiscal 2010," said EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich.
"BioShock 2, Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption, Mafia 2, additional Grand Theft Auto downloadable content, and the possible launch of Agent should make fiscal 2010 the year of Take-Two," he continued. "Next year, Take-Two will prove to the videogame industry they are more than just a one game publisher."
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter agreed, saying, "The silver lining in yesterday's cloud is the fact that next year's lineup just became significantly stronger. Our estimates include contributions from Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption, Mafia 2, L.A. Noire, Midnight Club 4 and a new property from Ken Levine of 2K Boston." That lineup could translate into year-over-year revenue growth of $550-$700 million for Take-Two and that's without taking into account the possible release of a new Grand Theft Auto game in 2010, although Pachter earlier predicted it was more likely to arrive later in the 2011 fiscal year.
Divnich noted that in the final analysis, Take-Two did gamers a real solid by holding off on BioShock 2. "Take-Two has made a very intrepid move by putting gamers before investors, an act most publishers wouldn't usually consider, and even though investors are likely to punish Take-Two for this delay, we as gamers should reward them for their persistence on improving game quality over meeting 'financial expectations'," he said.
"A delayed release will not diminish BioShock 2 sales, where a game whose quality didn't meet consumer expectations definitely would sell fewer units," Divnich added. "As far as I am concerned, Take-Two is just moving numbers from one financial year to another."