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.
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.
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.