Take Two Interactive Software Inc cut its financial outlook for the next two quarters due to the delayed release of its BioShock 2 video game and lower-than-expected retail orders for other titles.
Shares of Take Two slid 11 percent, or 98 cents, to $8 in after-hours trade on Monday.
The New York-based video game maker said it expects to lose 80 cents to 95 cents a share, adjusted, for the fiscal year ending October 31, instead of the break-even to 20 cents a share profit it had previously forecast.
Sales in the three months ending July 31 are expected to total $120 million to $130 million, versus the $145 million to $165 million it forecast in May. The company projected a loss of 65 cents to 75 cents a share on an adjusted basis, instead of an adjusted loss of 55 cents to 65 cents a share.
On a conference call with investors on Monday, Take Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick and CEO Ben Feder said they were seeing caution among retailers, which were wary of holding too much inventory.
The decision to delay the release of BioShock 2 was made in order to provide more time for development and to ensure that the quality of the game was up to par, the company said. BioShock 2 is one of the company's most highly anticipated games and an important part of efforts to build new franchises to complement the Grand Theft Auto series of games.
The company did not specify a new release date for BioShock 2, but spokesman Alan Lewis said it would be released in the first half of calendar 2010.
That means the game will miss the year-end holiday sales season which Take Two executives said on the call was already getting crowded with releases from rival game publishers.
Gabelli & Co analyst Robert Haley said the competition means it will be very difficult for a game maker to catch a consumer's attention this holiday season.
He said the delay of BioShock 2 was a surprise, given that Take Two provided a presentation about the game during the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles last month and had already set a release date for the title.
And the move follows delays to several other games announced by Take Two in May, said Haley.
Take Two's Feder said the company expects to be profitable on an adjusted basis in fiscal 2010 without releasing a new version of its popular Grand Theft Auto game for multiple gaming systems. Executives on the call declined to answer whether that meant Take Two was not planning to release a new version of Grand Theft Auto in fiscal 2010.
Take Two also said that Mafia 2, Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption will all be available in the first half of 2010.
The company said that initial retail orders for new games and of catalog products have proven lower than expected.
Take Two said sales in the fiscal fourth quarter, ending October 31, will range from $350 million to $400 million, with adjusted EPS of 30 cents to 40 cents. The company had previously forecast sales of $420 million to $500 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, with adjusted EPS of $1.08 to $1.28.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Richard Chang and Carol Bishopric)