Take-Two Interactive forecasts downbeat bookings on sluggish demand

FILE PHOTO: NBA 2K22 and Grand Theft Auto 5 by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc are seen for sale in a store in Manhattan, New York City

(Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software on Wednesday forecast third-quarter net bookings below market expectations, hurt by a slowdown in spending on the company's gaming titles such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "Red Dead Redemption".

The weak forecast contrasts with strong performances from companies such as Electronic Arts and Roblox that benefited from higher spending.

However, investors remain optimistic about the launch of Take-Two's "Grand Theft Auto VI", the latest installment in the franchise.

The trailer for "Grand Theft Auto VI", which will be released in early December, comes more than a decade after the launch of the last title in the franchise and will coincide with the 25th anniversary of Rockstar Games, the Take-Two division behind the game.

Several analysts expect the new "GTA" title to be an instant hit with billions of dollars in sales each year.

Take-Two forecast third-quarter net bookings between $1.30 billion and $1.35 billion, compared with estimates of $1.44 billion, according to LSEG data.

The company reaffirmed its annual booking outlook of $5.45 billion to $5.55 billion.

On an adjusted basis, Take-Two earned $1.22 per share in the second quarter, compared with estimates of $1.03.

Total net bookings in the quarter fell 4% to $1.44 billion, compared with analysts' estimates of $1.43 billion.

(Reporting by Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)