Yesterday, Take-Two Interactive announced at their quarterly earnings call that Mafia III is the fastest-selling title in 2K’s history, with the first week of sales totaling over 4.5 million units sold between the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Take-Two also noted that the title is being ‘supported’ by downloadable content such as a Season Pass, and Mafia III Rivals, a free-to-play game for Android and IOS.
Interestingly enough, while 4.5 million units have been ‘sold’, which in this case means the units that have been ‘Sell-in‘ to distributors and not necessarily units that have been ‘Sell-Through’ to consumers. However, a ‘Sell-In’ unit is a still a sold unit for Take-Two, (unless, of course, the distributors decide to send unsold units back to Take-Two), so at the moment Mafia III a bonafide commercial hit for Take-Two and 2K.
During a Q&A session with Take-Two investors, one particular question caused Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick to talk in detail on how game reviews reflect upon game sales. His thoughts are below.
Justin Post – Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Thank you for taking my question. Two quick ones. First congratulations on the NBA 2K ratings. People have noticed the Mafia kind of reviews that are out there, do you think that’s affecting game sales and do you think those are off at all?
And then secondly, just thinking about the sustainability of this year’s earnings, obviously we can layer in for Red Dead for next year. But when you think about the 30%, that’s Rockstar this year, and I’m assuming a lot of that’s GTA. How do you think about the sustainability of that going forward? Thank you.
Strauss H. Zelnick – Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Justin, thanks for your questions. Yeah, we’re really excited about the performance of NBA 2K17. It’s the strongest launch in the history of the franchise, and we had record first week sell-in and 160% increase year-over-year in virtual currency sales, so it’s looking really good, and obviously, the reviews and scores are great too.
On Mafia, we’ve got great news on the revenue side that you alluded to, first week, fastest-selling title in 2K’s history with 4.5 million units sold-in. And in terms of the reviews and scores, sort of an odd anomaly, you’re right, the scores are lower than we would have liked, but there are a lot of stellar reviews and I think the most prominent reviewers really loved it and recognized that what we are doing here from a story, art, character and excitement perspective is really unmatched in the marketplace. So I think we and our competitors are seeing some anomalies in the review system, we take them as they are and we don’t argue with it. But I think we do have an enormous number of exceedingly favorable reviews. And most importantly, consumers love the title and they are buying it hand over fist. And that at the end of the day, that’s how we’re judged.
While it is nice to hear that another developer won’t be shuttered due to their latest game being rushed out the door, it’s still a game that was rushed out the door. Marketing is the reason for which this game is the success that it is, and with Bethesda disallowing review copies until the day before the game is out and into the wild, this is a pattern that will continue. To summarize, don’t buy any title until it’s
beta-tested by the public patched.
What do you think of Mafia III’s success? Have you bought the title? Let us know in the comments!More About This Game