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Take-Two's first-quarter beats Wall Street view, 'Evolve' delayed

By Malathi Nayak

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software on Tuesday posted better-than-expected revenue in its fiscal first quarter as the video game publisher's "Grand Theft Auto V" and "NBA 2K14" titles continued to see strong demand from gamers.

Shares in Take-Two were relatively unchanged after closing at $21.97 on the Nasdaq.

"The catalog is performing, digitally delivered revenue is performing, recurrent consumer spending is performing and all of that served to deliver better-than-expected results," Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zellnick said in an interview.

Take-Two, which also publishes "BioShock Infinite," said non-GAAP net revenue grew 5 percent to $151.6 million in the quarter ended June 30, from $144.3 million a year ago. That surpassed the $134.8 million average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its non-GAAP net loss narrowed to $11.2 million, or 14 cents per share, from $47.1 million, or 54 cents per share a year ago, the company said. This beat Wall Street's expectation of a loss of 26 cents per share.

Release of the sci-fi shooter game "Evolve," scheduled for October, was postponed to Feb. 10, the company said.

"We’re giving the team a bit more time to polish it," Zellnick said.

The new release timing would be opportune as February has a light release schedule. Consumers are expected to purchase Sony Corp's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One consoles this holiday season, which could boost sales of games early in 2015, Zellnick said.

With 'Evolve,' "we’re gratified by the way the title is unfolding and that includes pre-orders," Zellnick added without providing details.

The company reiterated its fiscal year forecast of estimated non-GAAP net revenue of $1.35 billion to $1.45 billion and non-GAAP net income of 80 cents to $1.05 per share. That was in line with analysts' estimate of $1.44 billion in revenue and profit of $1.05 per share.

Its holiday lineup for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles includes basketball title "NBA 2K15" and wrestling game "WWE 2K15."

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by David Gregorio)

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