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Take-Two Says its 2023 Marketing Spending Estimates Are Not Related to Grand Theft Auto VI

Yesterday we reported on an SEC filing that pointed to drastically increased spending (more than double) for Take-Two during fiscal year 2024 (year period ending March 31, 2024). Analysts estimate that the massive marketing spend was related to the planned release of one of Take-Two’s biggest tentpole franchises: Grand Theft Auto VI. The publisher, however, is now denying these reports, saying that its FY2024 budget estimates—and more broadly, the SEC filing for five years worth of estimates—are for third-party obligations unrelated to Grand Theft Auto VI or any first-party marketing budgets within the company. That would include anything from Rockstar, which is owned by Take-Two.

In an update from VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb, he said that Take-Two reached out to correct the previous report:

Take-Two clarified to GamesBeat that this marketing-obligation metric refers only to its contracts with third parties. It does not reflect its marketing budget for internal studios like Rockstar Games. That means this does not indicate a timeline for Grand Theft Auto VI. I apologize for this misleading error.

A correction was also issued by GamesIndustry.biz (which prompted the above correction from Grubb):

 Take-Two representative told GamesIndustry.biz that the table in the 10-K reflects marketing commitments made to third-party companies. As Rockstar is an internal Take-Two studio, that undermines the notion that the reported marketing commitments would be related to the next Grand Theft Auto.

It’s still notable that marketing spend is making such a drastic jump during that time, and Take-Two obviously has some big things planned for that year, though this now relates specifically to third-party commitments and does not in any way indicate a relevant timeline for Grand Theft Auto VI. Still, it’s curious that the analyst in the original report mentioned the same filings predicting the road to release for Red Dead Redemption 2, as this metric would have arguably only applied to third-parties in past years as well. Perhaps it’s simply coincidence that the company also saw increased third-party spending in the year it was preparing to release RDR 2. At any rate, it seems to put to bed any hints about Grand Theft Auto VI for now, until the next alleged rumor about the game rolls around.

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