Take-Two Interactive provided its preliminary revenue and earnings result for the fourth quarter of its 2009 fiscal year, in which it made some money, lost some money and announced that Max Payne 3 will be released near the end of next year.
Fiscal updates are horribly boring affairs. Unless there's some kind of financial shenanigans making things interesting (which, to be fair, isn't exactly uncharted territory for Take-Two), slogging through non-GAAP earnings per share, goodwill impairment charges, inventory write-downs and other fiscally-sounding nonsense is little more than an exercise in sheer tedium. But we do it anyway, because every now and then something eye-catching does pop up.
Case in point: Take-Two's latest update, which fell below the company's earlier guidance in large part due to the poor performance of the Major League Baseball franchise as well as "lower than expected initial performance of several of its key holiday releases." Too bad for Take-Two, but the part that grabbed my attention was found a little further on, under all the gloomy numbers: Max Payne 3 is planned for release in the final quarter of 2010. That, of course, is a far cry from the winter 2009 release date that was predicted when the game was announced in March; Take-Two fairly quickly announced that it wouldn't make that schedule but I don't think anyone expected the game would miss its initial release target by a full year.
Take-Two's fiscal year winds up at the end of October, which means the game should hit shelves prior to that, but I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that it could be pushed into the first quarter of FY2011 to tie its launch more closely with the holiday shopping season. Whatever the case, if you're holding your breath waiting for a crack at the new Max Payne, you might want to exhale.
Take-Two also announced that BioShock 2 remains on schedule for a February 9 release and Red Dead Redemption will come out on April 27, while Mafia 2 is somewhat-less-specifically slated for release in the first half of the 2010 calendar year.