Take-Two, the parent company behind Rockstar, 2K and Private Division, seems to be doing something big together.
In the last year and changes, they have told shareholders that they should expect a significant, hefty release list down the pipeline, promising last fiscal year a total of 93 games in the next five years, and recently they have outlined their plans for a board of “immersive core releases” over the next three years.
During today’s earnings call, Take-Two continued to set expectations in a similar way. Between April 2022 and March 2024, it is preparing over 60 new releases: 23 “immersive core” titles similar to its 2K sports game, GTA and Red Dead Redemption; six games from its independent game publishing company, Private Division; 20 mobile games, four “mid-core” games that are either arcade titles like WWE Battlegrounds or just generally smaller in scope than e.g. GTA; and nine games that are either gates or remasters.
Midnight Suns – Opening Night Live Screenshots
This is a significant increase compared to what Take-Two has produced in the past, specifically in the in-depth core department. In recent years, Take-Two has largely produced a few major games a year, mostly annual 2K releases and then occasionally a GTA or Red Dead. On average, to reach 23 within that time frame, it had to produce seven to eight major blockbuster games each year during that period. There are many GTAs.
We can see the very beginning of this in Take-Two’s current upcoming board, which had NBA 2K22 out in September, WWE 2K22 set for March, and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands also in March. Looking into next year, we know of the Midnight Suns (which has just been delayed until the second half of 2022) and the Kerbal Space Program 2, scheduled for fiscal year 2023 (which Take-Two counts as an immersive core despite be under the Private Division mark). It’s also a pretty safe bet to expect the company to continue releasing NBA 2K and WWE 2K games on a fairly regular basis, and there’s an NFL game on the way that has been delayed in March 2022 (though it may fall under the “arcade” banner).
A look at Take-Two’s investor slideshow shows how they are preparing for this cascade. In a slide showing the number of new hires by fiscal year, Take-Two shows that from 2012 to 2017, it only employed a few hundred people a year. But in 2017, it rose to employ around 700 people, and in 2019 and 2020, it employed a similar amount. Today’s earnings report included the details that Take-Two brought 350 new developers this quarter alone, not including more senior hires, and in an interview with IGN, CEO Strauss Zelnick said Take-Two was now somewhere around 7,200 employees strong worldwide. From the annual report for 2020, the company was around 5,800 – a jump of 1,400 people since March last year, and also during a global pandemic.
Take-Two certainly has the resources for this increase. It has experienced steady growth in its net bookings year after year, and expects to do so again in the current fiscal year. This very last quarter brought in $ 985 million in net bookings. That is only a 3% year-on-year increase. But when you consider that it has been able to sustain the growth in net bookings since the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, it is quite significant.
Meanwhile, GTA V continues to sell absurd amounts – another five million in the last quarter, bringing it to 155 million units sold in total over its lifetime – along with Red Dead Redemption 2 (39 million in total) and NBA 2K22 ( five million in total). Even smaller titles like The Outer Worlds (four million in total) are doing very well. It’s enough that the company raised its earnings projections for the full year today, despite delaying a massive Marvel game for next fiscal year – a move that would normally make the projections a hit.
All of this together makes it clear that we’re seeing a big increase in game announcements from Take-Two, which are likely to begin sometime next year if everything is to be marketed in time to make these projections come true. While plenty of these big releases are likely to be 2K Sports titles and possibly more adventurous new ideas like Midnight Suns and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, rumors continue to swirl about GTA 6 – a game that would definitely fit into the description of “immersive core”.
Luckily for fans, the GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition will come later this month, keeping hope alive for now.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.