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How Take-Two Plans to Maintain Its Momentum In the Next Console Cycle

Take-Two Interactive's (NASDAQ: TTWO) top franchises delivered strong earnings results last quarter, as players continue to spend money on virtual currency in top titles.

While Take-Two doesn't have a major new release as Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X kicks off a new console generation this month, the latest earnings results suggest that it doesn't need one. Players are highly engaged with NBA 2K, Grand Theft Auto V, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Management has several updates in store for these top titles that should keep recurrent consumer spending growing in the short term.

Here is a look at the near-term plans for Take-Two's biggest titles.

Image source: Getty Images.

The NBA 2K series is hot

NBA 2K21 launched in September on top of record results for the previous installment. It's already showing early signs of delivering more growth, with 5 million units sold so far. That has translated to bookings growth of 28% year over year for the franchise.

2K and Visual Concepts designed the game specifically for the next-generation hardware. A key feature of NBA 2K21 that could be huge for the game's growth over the next year is The City, a virtual basketball community that is exclusive to the new consoles.

The City brings a more immersive social component to the game that could be very sticky for players. Take-Two released The Park in 2014, which led to new social activities in the game, but The City takes the concept to another level.

Take-Two's recurrent consumer spending (or in-game spending) grew 43% year over year last quarter, comprising nearly two-thirds of total bookings. The addition of this new feature to NBA 2K21 should contribute to further growth in recurrent consumer spending.

As President Karl Slatoff explained during the fiscal second-quarter conference call, the more content you give players, the more time they spend in these games: "And that's a really great thing from an engagement perspective because, No. 1 ... people love it and driving engagement also drives economics for us, and that's one of our objectives," Slatoff said.

Also, we shouldn't forget that Take-Two raised the price for NBA 2K21 by $10 on the next-generation consoles, which should provide an extra boost to bookings growth over the next year.

Rockstar's content updates are gold

Take-Two's Rockstar Games has announced that Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption will be receiving "major updates" later this year. One of these updates will include "the biggest update ever" for Grand Theft Auto Online.

Grand Theft Auto V continued to grow in the recent quarter, reaching more than 135 million units sold since its 2013 release. Red Dead Redemption 2 also continues to outperform management's expectations, with units sold reaching 34 million units.

Rockstar Games continues to masterfully guide the growth of these franchises with new content updates. Recurrent consumer spending for Red Dead 2 grew 96% year over year. Management also said that Grand Theft Auto Online remains on track to hit a new record in net bookings in fiscal 2021 (which ends in March).

Take-Two is pursuing several opportunities

During the Nov. 5 call, Take-Two reiterated that it has a deep pipeline in the works. Management believes its planned slate for the next five years, which includes 63 projects based on core gaming experiences, will drive further growth and margin expansion.

While Take-Two executives are not tipping their hand, CEO Strauss Zelnick hinted that they are investing in a "number of emerging opportunities that have the potential to enhance" the company's growth rate.

The future of the video game industry is wide open. Whether it's subscriptions, new free-to-play experiences, or innovating within existing franchises (e.g. NBA 2K's The City), Take-Two has plenty of options to drive returns for investors.

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Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. John Ballard owns shares of Microsoft and Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft and Take-Two Interactive and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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