'NBA 2K21' Fuels Take-Two Interactive's Second Quarter

NBA 2K20 - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy 2K

CEO Strauss Zelnick says the latest basketball simulation game has sold over five million units while the series has grown 28 percent in net bookings.

NBA 2K and other flagship titles from Rockstar Games and 2k Games fueled revenue for parent company Take-Two Interactive during its most recent quarter.

Net revenue reached $841.4 million for the three months ending Sept. 30, compared to $857.8 million during the same period last year. Though that represented a year-over-year decline, the current quarter topped the $830 million in revenue that Wall Street was anticipating.

Beyond the basketball simulation games NBA 2K20 and the more immersive NBA 2K21, the largest contributors to overall revenue included Grand Theft Auto VRed Dead Redemption 2 and their online iterations, as well as Borderlands 3 and PGA Tour 2K21.

"Things are going much better than expected, our net bookings grew to almost a billion dollars in the quarter," says Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the earnings release. "It's been driven by across the board success. Our new release of NBA 2K21 is huge, its sold over 5 million units and the series grew 28 percent in terms of net bookings." The game launches for next-gen console platforms next week.

Zelnick shares that Red Dead Redemption recurrent consumer spending for online was up 96 percent in the fiscal second quarter, while net bookings for Red Dead Redemption 2 grew 94 percent. "PGA Tour 2K21 has sold over a million units and it's the fastest selling golf game in the last ten years," he says, adding that WWE 2k Battlegrounds is also a "big success."

This year saw Take-Two's acquisition of mobile game developer Playdots for $192 million. Zelnick says the company — along with mobile developer Social Point and Take-Two's other mobile titles — made up over 10 percent of Take-Two's net bookings in the quarter.

"People are flocking to interactive entertainment, I think because the experience offers great graphics, great characters, great stories and great gameplay, and also because when you're engaging in interactive entertainment, you can also talk with your friends and hang out in communities all around the world," he says.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has allowed people stuck at home to still have community-based experiences, he adds. "The fact that life is returning to normal won't stand in the way of the acceleration of that trend of being engaged with others while we're being engaged with electronic entertainment."

Along with NBA 2K21, 2K's launches this year included Mafia Definitive Edition, a high-definition remake of the original action-adventure game Mafia — which explores organized crime in America —from development studio Hangar 13.

As a result of strong performances in this quarter, Take-Two is increasing its outlook for the fiscal third quarter ending Dec. 31, 2020, with net revenue expecting to range from $760 to $810 million.

Looking ahead, New York-based Take-Two has raised its fiscal 2021 outlook. It expects to hit a record $3 billion in net bookings for the year.