UPDATE: A Take-Two representative told GamesIndustry.biz that the table in the 10-K reflects marketing commitments made to third-party companies. Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto developer, is an internal Take-Two studio, which means that these expenses are not related to the next Grand Theft Auto game.
Take-Two Interactive plans to spend at least $89 million on marketing during the fiscal year 2024 (1st April 2023 - 31st March 2024), according to the Take-Two’s recent 10-K SEC filing.
As pointed out by analyst Jeff Cohen, this is a huge spike in their annual marketing budgets. For FY 2022, FY 2023, and FY2025 they are planning less than half of that, which you can see below.
Cohen further explains that the only logical explanation for such a drastic jump is the release of GTA VI, and that's why Take-Two is planning big marketing expenses.
Picture: Jeff Cohen
Cohen points out that previously this spike was planned for F23, and this year's 10-K has shifted that spend from F23 to F24. This is probably due to internal changes and delays in development.
Rockstar Games, GTA developers, probably originally planned the release of Grand Theft Auto VI for fiscal 2023, but it was postponed to FY2024 at some point over the past year.
Cohen notes that this method of prediction was already successful with Red Dead Redemption 2.
"This disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 prior to that game's announcement," Cohen says in his research brief.
"Management has spoken very confidently about the pipeline over the next five years and existing live services execution has been excellent. However, the timing of the next Grand Theft Auto remains top-of-mind for investors, particularly with the stock near all-time highs."
The release of GTA VI in 2023 sounds about right, given that it will be five years between GTA VI and Red Dead Redemption 2, the same amount of time as between GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2.
GTA V is currently still going strong thanks to GTA Online, and Red Dead Online is still quite fresh, so there's really no reason for Rockstar to rush with GTA VI.
After all, they are known to be perfectionists, and Take-Two will give them as much time as needed to make a perfect GTA game.