A sudden jump in Take-Two’s marketing budget may point to the release date of the inevitable Grand Theft Auto 6 (via VentureBeat).
This is according to Stephens analyst Jeff Cohen, who points out that Take-Two have informed investors that they expect to spend $89 million on marketing during the 12-month period ending March 31, 2024, which is more than double the marketing budget for any financial year for the past decade.
Cohen predicts that this points to the potential release date for Grand Theft Auto 6, arguing that similar budget jumps have hinted at major game releases in the past:
“We are not sure how much we should be reading into this shift, but we would note that this disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 prior to that game’s announcement,” Cohen wrote. “[Take-Two management] has spoken very confidently about the pipeline over the next five years and existing live services execution has been excellent. However, the timing of the next Grand Theft Auto remains top-of-mind for investors, particularly with the stock near all-time-highs.”
If Cohen is correct, this would place Grand Theft Auto 6’s release between April 2023 and March 2024. However, as GameIndustry.biz‘s Brendan Sinclair argues, the “prediction” of Red Dead Redemption 2 was sourced from an increase of marketing commitments for fiscal 2019, the game’s release year. However, the game was originally scheduled to be released in fall of 2017. Additionally, no such marketing bump was seen before the release of Grand Theft Auto 5.
Additionally, Take-Two states in most of its annual 10-K that its marketing commitments “primarily reflect our agreements with major sports leagues and players’ associations.” As Sinclair points out, the 2019 budget jump that “predicted” Red Dead Redemption 2 also aligned with the launch of NBA 2K Online 2 in China and the inaugural season of the NBA 2k League.