Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games announced that Red Dead Redemption 2 has “sold-in,” or shipped to retailers, more than 17 million copies in its first eight days of sales.
The epic Western game has an average score of 97-out-of-100 on review aggregator Metacritic , and Take-Two had previously said it sold through to consumers more than $725 million in the first three days of sales after they started on October 26.
Now Take-Two said that the game sold-in more copies to retailers in its first eight days than the original blockbuster Red Dead Redemption sold in its first eight years and, as of today, the title has sold-in over 17 million units worldwide.
“As a result of our strong second quarter performance and outstanding early results from Red Dead Redemption 2, we are raising our financial outlook for fiscal 2019, which is also poised to be a record year,” said Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two, in a statement. “Looking ahead, we have a strong development pipeline across our labels and are exceedingly well positioned for long-term growth and margin expansion.”
Take-Two previously said that Red Dead Redemption 2 had sold in its first three days about 70 percent as well as Grand Theft Auto V in its first three days.
Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter said that sales in the initial quarter are at 15 million copies, a conservative number, and he said that investor expectations are at 20 million copies. If Red Dead stays at the 70 percent level, 20 million is doable by early December, Schachter said in a report.
The numbers released today show that 17 million copies are in the hands of retailers, as opposed to consumer’s hands. But the number is encouraging, as retailers only order that many games if they are confident that they are going to sell out.
“Red Dead Redemption 2 has exceeded our expectations to date,” said Zelnick, in an analyst call. “I’d like to congratulate the entire team at Rockstar Games for once again raising the bar for what can be achieved in interactive entertainment.”
Take-Two didn’t say whether the game is profitable yet. Developer Rockstar Games listed more than 2,800 contributors to the game in its thank-you note, but obviously it was only handful at the beginning of the project more than eight years ago. (Zelnick said 2,000 team members contributed, which means there were a substantial number of external contributors).
Take-Two’s capitalized software costs — the measure of how much it has invested in software that hasn’t launched yet — give us a clue as to what the game’s costs were. Take-Two’s balance for those costs is $733 million. That’s the amount invested in all software at the company, which has about 4,200 employees across 17 studios, according to Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two.
Keep in mind that Rockstar and Take-Two continue to make money from the five-year-old Grand Theft Auto V (which has sold nearly 100 million copies), as well as GTA Online. Rockstar plans to release Red Dead Online shortly as well.
In the earnings call, Zelnick said he doesn’t believe that Red Dead Redemption 2 is cannibalizing sales of GTA V, nor does he expect that to happen in the future.
As for marketing expenses, Zelnick said the company will support the title but he declined to be specific. Take-Two said it could generate $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion in revenues in its fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, thanks to greater expectations for Red Dead Redemption 2.
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