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Take Two Estimates Lowered After Disappointing  Duke  Sales

Take Two Estimates Lowered After Disappointing Duke Sales

July 5, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

Analyst firm Wedbush Morgan has lowered its fiscal Q1 revenue estimates for Duke Nukem Forever publisher Take Two Interactive, saying that the game's sell-through may be as low as half of its initial expectations.

The firm is now estimating Q1 revenues at $350 million, down from its initial estimate of $375 million, with Duke Nukem Forever sales estimated at 1.5 million versus initial estimates of 3 million. Those estimates are roughly in line with those made by Sterne Agee, which puts the game at 1.5 to 2 million.

On the upside, the firm says that L.A. Noire has likely sold through more units than anticipated, and has raised its estimate on that title from 3.5 million to 4 million units sold.

Regardless of what the firm calls a "disappointing Duke sequel," Wedbush Morgan still anticipates that Take Two will deliver consistent profits.

"Of the major publishers, Take-Two has had the fewest 'misses' in terms of game quality over the last two years, and as a result, delivered a profitable FY:11 without a GTA release," said analyst Michael Pachter. "It has over a dozen core franchises, and if it can streamline development, can be expected to increase franchise releases to three or more per year."

The firm continues to expect the company to debut Grand Theft Auto V in fiscal 2013, due to two primary factors: a recent extension of its contracts with series creative leads Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Leslie Benzies, and the company's guidance of earnings per share at over $2 for the period. Wedbush Morgan estimates a holiday 2012 release.

Duke Nukem Forever earned below average reviews, and has a current Metacritic rating of 49 out of 100.

Despite its disappointing sales, Take Two has committed to continue expanding the Duke Nukem IP, hinting that it may take the character to products beyond traditional games.

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