Take-Two has made an official clarification in relation to the analysis below. Read it here.
For all the rumors and leaks that tend to surround popular upcoming games, it's almost always the financial and legal obligations of publicly traded companies that lead to premature reveals, and Take-Two Interactive may have just let slip the release year of Grand Theft Auto 6 with a public SEC filing.
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Take-Two filed a Form 10-K recently. A 10K is the company's annual report and, amongst a trove of other information, includes expenditure forecasts for upcoming years. These forms are public information, as required by US Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, and enable us/investors to gain insight into the company's financial performance and potentially its upcoming projects.
According to the filing, Take-Two currently forecasts spending $89 million on marketing in the 12 month period from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024. Notably, this is more than twice the amount of money they plan to use for the same purpose the years before and after. You can see for yourself in the image below.
Such a massive spike in marketing expenses usually means a blockbuster release. A similar SEC filing accurately predicted the launch year of Red Dead Redemption 2 and few IPs in Take-Two's portfolio would command as much marketing power as Grand Theft Auto.
It means it's very likely that the next GTA game will be released sometime in the latter half of 2023.
This conclusion makes sense for a number of reasons.
Rockstar Games has never been a developer to rush titles, especially ones as important as main GTA releases. By 2023, the next generation of consoles will have been broken in, allowing GTA 6, or whatever it will be called, to make the most of the new hardware.
In addition, we have known that a new GTA title is in development for a while now. Beyond it being implicitly inevitable due to the success of GTA 5 and GTA Online, many an employee has listed the project as work experience on their online profiles.
2023 will also mark the ten year anniversary of Grand Theft Auto 5's release. It was first released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles back on September, 17 2013.
There isn't too much else that we know, beyond the game's existence and that at launch it will be smaller than its predecessor.
This may be the best clue we have that indicates a ballpark date for the title's release. For everything else, check out our master post here.