November 7, 2018 / 9:46 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-"Red Dead Redemption 2" to power Take-Two sales jump

(Adds CEO comment, share price)

By Arjun Panchadar and Kenneth Li

Nov 7 (Reuters) - Game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc forecast third-quarter revenue above estimates on Wednesday and raised its full-year outlook, thanks to a record-breaking opening of western-themed “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

The launch of the latest installment of the “Red Dead” series on Oct. 26, broke records for the biggest opening weekend in the entertainment industry’s history with more than $725 million in global sales.

Take-Two’s other iconic game, “Grand Theft Auto V,” earned more, but it did so starting on a Tuesday.

“Red Dead Redemption 2,” which follows the exploits of a band of renegade cowboys at the end of the wild west era and the twilight of the American frontier way of life, has sold 17 million units to date. It has sold more in its first eight days than the earlier version of the game did in eight years.

Take-Two on Wednesday forecast full-year adjusted revenue between $2.80 billion and $2.90 billion, up from its previous forecast of $2.70 billion to $2.80 billion.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $2.85 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company also forecast third-quarter adjusted revenue of $1.40 billion to $1.45 billion, beating estimates of $1.35 billion.

For the second quarter ending Sept. 30, Take-Two’s adjusted revenue topped estimates, primarily driven by the latest version of its basketball game “NBA 2K19” and the continued success of “Grand Theft Auto V”.

“I mean nothing’s like Grand Theft Auto V and it’s way too early in any case,” Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick told Reuters when asked about the lifecycle of “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

“Grand Theft Auto V,” which was launched in 2013 by the company’s Rockstar Games studio has sold over a 100 million units, making it one of the best-selling titles ever.

“NBA 2K19” debuted as the second best-selling game of September, and instantly became the 5th best-selling game of 2018, according to research firm NPD.

It represents the biggest launch of any game in the “NBA 2K” franchise, and is the best-selling sports game this year.

Take-Two reported a net income of $25.4 million, or 22 cents per share, in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $2.7 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company’s shares were up 2.5 percent at $129 in after-market trading. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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