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Take-Two Interactive rocked as Grand Theft Auto V is delayed to September 2013

Microsoft and Sony are expected to announce brand new video game consoles sometime in the next six months. Market analysts expect the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4, or the Durango and Orbis as they’re often called in rumors, will hit shelves in time for the Christmas season. With few tent pole games announced for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for that time frame, the assumption is that Microsoft, Sony, and their publishing partners are holding off.

There will be at least one banner release for those machines in the fall of 2013, though: Grand Theft Auto V will hit shelves on September 17th, 2013. GTA’s millions of fans are bound to be excited that Rockstar will finally release a new entry in its signature series but Take-Two Interactive shareholders have already been stung by the game’s delays.

“We know this is about four months later than originally planned and we know that this short delay will come as a disappointment to many of you, but, trust us, it will be worth the extra time,” reads a statement on Rockstar’s website, “GTAV is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require.”

Grand Theft Auto V was originally expected to ship sometime in 2012. When 2K Games’ BioShock Infinite was delayed into 2013 prior to E3 2012, the expectation was that the delay was meant to not just allow more polishing for that title but to keep the market clear for GTAV in the fall of that year. This turned out to not be the case, and GTAV’s continued absence from the market took a severe toll on Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick pegged the company’s nearly $108 million loss for fiscal year 2012 on having to delay the game.

When Rockstar confirmed the game was delayed into 2013, Take-Two was forced to downgrade its earnings expectations for fiscal 2013 from around $1.8 billion to just $1.2 billion. If pushing GTA V into this year cost the company an estimated $600 million, how much will this new delay cost the company as it heads into a fall where consumers will be focused on new hardware? The delay is already causing damage. Take-Two stock dove following the Thursday announcement. As of this writing, Take-Two shares are down 7 pecent

Grand Theft Auto V will benefit from some spit and shine since its predecessor shipped with a number of bugs and glitches. The game will be better for it. The question is whether Rockstar and Take-Two can afford the delay.

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