Stock analysis website SeekingAlpha have referenced last weeks press release from Take-Two regarding it's financial results and a conference call in relation to that, where it is revealed that the $50 million "Deferred revenue" figure is actually coming from Microsoft, who will pay Take-Two $25 million for one downloadable episode in March '08 and the other $25 million later on in fiscal '08 for the second episode. We can assume from this that these are likely to be the dates when we will actually receive the content, although it's not certain.
It's a long article to read in full but this is the quote which confirms the above:
This screenshot below shows part of the financial results with the deferred revenue figure being talked about above: (in '000s)
as it relates to the deferred revenue chunk associated with the episodic content on X-Box 360, you can see that $25 million of that moved into short-term deferred. Could you give us any sense of when that’s going to hit the P&L? Will we see $25 million at one time and then the second 25 or will it be a slow bleed?
The first 25 is for the first episodic content package that’s supposed to go out and that is in March of '08. That’s why it moved into current because it’s in the next 12 months. The second 25 will be for the second episodic, the episode, and that will be later in fiscal '08.
What we're trying to work out is where exactly Microsoft are getting their money back and profiting from this. Clearly they are doing this to help sell consoles as well as copies of the game, but even then, not everybody is going to buy the content, and assuming it will be priced at 800 points (that's $10) - 5 million people would have to download the content just for Microsoft to break even. The actual price is not yet known and it's very possible that it will cost more than this.