If Take-Two's marketing budget is anything to go by, it looks likely that Grand Theft Auto VI may launch in 2023.
Via a piece of detective work by VentureBeat, it's been uncovered that Take-Two expects to spend $89 million on marketing during the 12-month period ending March 2024. The figure works out at more than twice the marketing budget for any other fiscal year over the next half-decade suggesting that something big is going to happen around then.
How do we know the future in this way? It's thanks to the company's recent 10-K filing, a form that publicly traded companies in the US are legally required to file to demonstrate what's coming for shareholders and other investors. While obviously this isn't a guarantee of Grand Theft Auto VI, it seems like the most plausible explanation and it's also been suggested by analyst Jeff Cohen of investment firm Stephens.
During Take-Two's previous 10-K, there was a notable spike in marketing costs for the previous fiscal year - 2023 - so we're guessing if it's moved back by a year, that means a delay for the game. In Cohen's analysis, he points out that the same kind of disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2. After all, big games need big marketing budgets.
If all this is correct then it would mean that Grand Theft Auto VI will launch somewhere between April 2023 and March 2024. That's 10 years after Grand Theft Auto V released which seems like a very long time but makes financial sense to Take-Two.
For one thing, the game continues to perform very well with GTA Online helping it massively, providing millions of microtransactions.
For another reason, Rockstar Games will want to keep away from the release of the next-gen consoles - the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Waiting until both consoles are fully established will mean the game can reach a larger customer base.
As with any rumour, this all requires more salt than you'd have with your dinner, but we know that Grand Theft Auto VI is coming at some point. In which case, a few years' time seems about right given the continued success of V and the rise of next-gen consoles. Good things come to those who wait? Let's hope so.
December 11 2020 | 17:30