Analyst firm Wedbush Morgan has lowered its fiscal Q1 revenue estimates for Duke Nukem Forever
publisher Take Two Interactive, saying that the game's sell-through may be as low as half of its initial expectations.
The firm is now estimating Q1 revenues at $350 million, down from its initial estimate of $375 million, with Duke Nukem Forever
sales estimated at 1.5 million versus initial estimates of 3 million. Those estimates are roughly in line
with those made by Sterne Agee, which puts the game at 1.5 to 2 million.
On the upside, the firm says that L.A. Noire
has likely sold through more units than anticipated, and has raised its estimate on that title from 3.5 million to 4 million units sold.
Regardless of what the firm calls a "disappointing Duke
sequel," Wedbush Morgan still anticipates that Take Two will deliver consistent profits.
"Of the major publishers, Take-Two has had the fewest 'misses' in terms of game quality over the last two years, and as a result, delivered a profitable FY:11 without a GTA
release," said analyst Michael Pachter. "It has over a dozen core franchises, and if it can streamline development, can be expected to increase franchise releases to three or more per year."
The firm continues to expect the company to debut Grand Theft Auto V
in fiscal 2013, due to two primary factors: a recent extension
of its contracts with series creative leads Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Leslie Benzies, and the company's guidance of earnings per share at over $2 for the period. Wedbush Morgan estimates a holiday 2012 release.
Duke Nukem Forever
earned below average reviews
, and has a current Metacritic rating of 49 out of 100.
Despite its disappointing sales, Take Two has committed
to continue expanding the Duke Nukem IP, hinting that it may take the character to products beyond traditional games.