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Grand Theft Auto V in October 2012 thanks to BioShock Infinite delay? Maybe, maybe not say analysts

With BioShock Infinite delayed until February 2013, there’s a gaping hole in Take-Two Interactive’s fall line up. The foundation stone of the company’s annual business, NBA 2K13, is still on track for October, but what will Take-Two offer up in the scuffle against Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Halo 4, and Assassin’s Creed 3? BioShock Infinite can compete with those heavy hitters, but now Take-Two will have to wait to reap those rewards.

There is something else waiting in the wings though. Take-Two could win the holiday game rush actually. Maybe it’s time to release Grand Theft Auto V.

Wedbush Morgan’s analyst Michael Pachter certainly thinks a 2012 release for Grand Theft Auto V is a possibility. “The delay opens the window for Grand Theft Auto V to be released in October 2012,” said Pachter in a Wednesday note to investors.

“We speculate that once Rockstar Games notified Take-Two that GTA V would be ready by October, Take-Two gave Irrational Games the option to spend more time fine-tuning BioShock Infinite. Although we were confident that both games would sell millions of units when it appeared that they would be released in close proximity, we think that the delay will alleviate any wallet-share concerns and ensure that both games receive the undivided attention of Take Two’s management and marketing teams, and will ensure that retail support is optimized.”

Pachter goes on to say that October is always Take-Two’s preferred window for a new GTA, and he’s right. With the exception of Grand Theft Auto IV, every major GTA release since the ground breaking Grand Theft Auto III has come in October. April rumors originating from a Rockstar employee supported the expectation that Grand Theft Auto V will indeed be out this October.

It makes good business sense for Take-Two, even though it’s rare these days for Rockstar to release two games in one year. Max Payne 3 will have plenty of room to breathe between its release on May 15 and October though. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian doesn’t see it happening though. In a note to investors concerning GameStop’s projected financials, Sebastian noted that the retailer has both BioShock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V pegged for early 2013.

Rockstar moves in mysterious ways. Its mystique and its perfectionism are as responsible for earning the studio its cult following as its games. Take-Two could certainly use Grand Theft Auto V this year, but the game will only release when Rockstar Games is satisfied that it’s actually finished. That could be in October, but don’t bet on it.