Gamemaker's revs off 11% to $334 mil

“L.A. Noire” publisher Take-Two Interactive has a new mystery to solve: why sales were down for its games during the last three months.

Revenue was off 11% to $334 million for the gamemaker during its first quarter while the company reported an $8.7 million loss vs. a $27.4 million profit during the same period a year ago.

The New York-based publisher best known for its “Grand Theft Auto” franchise has been eager to prove to Wall Street that it’s not dependent upon new sequels to the series to drive its bottom line.

Take-Two had high hopes for “L.A. Noire,” which sold 4 million copies during the quarter since its release in May, backed by a pricey marketing campaign. Company chief Strauss Zelnick called the performance “a great result” during an earnings call.

Company’s earnings were also helped by “NBA 2K11,” which sold 5.5 million units, and last year’s hit “Red Dead Redemption,” which has moved 11 million units to date, while an “Undead Nightmare” add-on has sold an additional 2 million units. Although critically panned, “Duke Nukem Forever” is expected to be profitable.

Like other game publishers, Take-Two saw digital sales increasing, accounting for $24.6 million in revenue during the quarter, up 49% vs. last year.

Upcoming tentpole titles include “BioShock Infinite,” “Borderlands 2″ and “Spec Ops: The Line.”

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