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Take-Two Interactive Earnings Preview: What to Watch

Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO) is slated to report its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, Nov. 7, after the market close. The stock is up over 100% over the last 12 months. One of the main reasons for Take-Two's success has been the impressive performance of a 4-year old game -- Grand Theft Auto V

Here's what investors should watch in the upcoming earnings report.

IMAGE SOURCE: ROCKSTARGAMES.COM

Headline numbers

For the fiscal second quarter, management guided for GAAP revenue to be in the range of $400 million to $450 million. This would be roughly flat from last year's second-quarter revenue of $420 million. During the second quarter, Take-Two released new content for XCOM 2 and released NBA 2K18 across all platforms.

Management is calling for GAAP earnings per share to decline from $0.39 a year ago to somewhere between $0.15 and $0.25 per share. The drop in earnings is due to higher operating expense from the addition of Social Point (acquired earlier in the year), as well as higher production expenses for new titles.

Will Grand Theft Auto V continue to grow?

The largest contributors to revenue in the quarter are expected to be NBA 2K18, Grand Theft Auto V, and Grand Theft Auto Online. In the first-quarter earnings release, management raised their outlook for the year for non-GAAP (adjusted) revenue based on stronger-than-expected performance of Grand Theft Auto V and its online service. The game continues to gain a lot of interest from gamers, judging by its top-10 trending status on game streaming sites such as Twitch.

Management expects full year non-GAAP revenue for fiscal 2018 to be down compared to last year based on fewer game releases and moderating sales expectations for Grand Theft Auto V, which was released four years ago. Essentially, the game is doing so well that management really doesn't know how much longer the game will continue to perform, so they are trying to be conservative in their guidance. Because of this, there's the possibility Take-Two could outperform its own guidance if the game continues to attract new players.

Other than Grand Theft Auto, investors should watch recurrent consumer spending, which made up 41% of total revenue in the fiscal first quarter. Recurrent consumer spending includes virtual currency, downloadable in-game content, and microtransactions. Virtual currency is an important revenue driver of the NBA 2K franchise, where players can purchase a certain amount of "digital coins" to unlock additional content.

Growth initiatives

Finally, investors should listen for updates on how mobile game maker Social Point is performing and what management expects from that newly acquired business. Also listen for any other comments about other long-term growth opportunities, such as professional gaming (or esports), where Take-Two is getting ready to commence the NBA 2K eLeague.

Overall, investors will want to know that Take-Two's games are generating healthy engagement levels with players, which helps grow recurrent consumer spending, and that the company's aims in mobile gaming and esports will develop into meaningful growth drivers over time.

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John Ballard has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.