May 16 (Reuters) - "Grand Theft Auto" publisher Take-Two
Interactive Software on Monday became the latest U.S.
gaming company to forecast annual sales below estimates, as
demand starts to plateau in a post-pandemic world.
The return of social life in a reopening economy and a thin
lineup of big gaming titles herald tougher times for the
video-gaming industry as sales cool from dizzying heights hit
Rivals Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard
also marked a weak quarter, while Roblox Corp
forecast net losses for the "foreseeable future".
"As the return to normalcy continues to unfold, the impact
to our business, operations and financial results will depend on
numerous evolving factors that we are not able to predict,"
Take-Two said in a statement.
For the full year, Take-Two expects adjusted sales of $3.75
billion to $3.85 billion, while analysts were expecting $3.96
billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
The company's forecast for first-quarter adjusted sales of
$700 million to $750 million also came below estimates of $777.9
However, the forecasts did not factor in its pending
acquisition of "Farmville" maker Zynga or interest
costs related to the deal, which is expected to close in May.
Quarterly net bookings - the products and services sold
digitally or in stores - rose 8%, thanks to flagship titles like
"NBA 2K22" and "GTA V" and the new "WWE 2K22", but the figure
still missed estimates.
Take-Two's net income fell to $110.97 million for the fourth
quarter ended March 31, from $218.81 million a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned $1.09 per share, beating
estimates of $1.04 per share.
Shares of the company rose 2.5% in extended trading.
Earlier on Monday, Saudi's Public Investment Fund revealed
in a filing that it more than doubled its stake in Take-Two
during the quarter.
(Reporting by Richard Rohan Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by
Anil D'Silva and Devika Syamnath)