Max Payne 3 and Spec Ops sales disappoint

Take-Two pinned its poor financial performance in the three months ending June 30 on poor sales of Max Payne 3 and Spec Ops: The Line.

In a press release to announce the publisher's latest financial results, CEO Strauss Zelnick admitted that sales of the two games were "lower than anticipated", and were the driving factor in Take-Two's results failing to meet expectations. Zelnick, however, remains positive, and little wonder; the company's release schedule for the coming months is mouth-watering.

"Although our first quarter results were below expectations due to lower than anticipated sales of Spec Ops: The Line and Max Payne 3, the outlook for our slate of upcoming releases is stronger than ever," he said. "Early consumer enthusiasm suggests robust demand for our extraordinary lineup, particularly Borderlands 2, NBA 2K13 and BioShock Infinite.

"We continue to expect fiscal 2013 to be one of the best years in Take-Two's history."

And no wonder: the games Zelnick mentions will be joined, one expects, by Grand Theft Auto V – though Rockstar's keenly anticipated sequel sadly wasn't mentioned last night, it's clearly in Zelnick's thoughts. Take-Two's poor results – revenue down by a third, losses up by a factor of almost 13 – are not entirely surprising. Spec Ops was always a relatively niche proposition given its subversive spin on the shooter genre while Max Payne 3 simply didn't have the widespread appeal of Rockstar's past work.

Yet Take-Two has arguably the most enviable release slate in the business. It's ramping up its digital business too, with NBA 2K Online currently in open beta in China, and the company having releases its first social games during the current financial year.