Update: In a statement given to GamesIndustry.biz, a Take-Two representative revealed that the spike in its budget "reflects marketing commitments made to third-party companies". Since the company behind the GTA series, Rockstar Games, is part of Take-Two, that means the increased marketing budget is planned for other purposes. Looks like we'll have to keep waiting for a better idea of when the next game in the open-world crime series will arrive.
Original story follows
Based on the proposed budget, Take-Two plans on spending $89 million on marketing during the fiscal year that begins April 2023 and ends March 2024. That's more than double the marketing budget for any other year for the next five years, and an investment analyst thinks that means GTA 6 will drop during that window.
“We are not sure how much we should be reading into this shift, but we would note that this disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 prior to that game’s announcement,” Jeff Cohen of investment firm Stephens wrote to investors. “[Take-Two management] has spoken very confidently about the pipeline over the next five years and existing live services execution has been excellent. However, the timing of the next Grand Theft Auto remains top-of-mind for investors, particularly with the stock near all-time-highs.”
Sure, that would mean GTA 6 would come out an entire decade after GTA 5, but with Rockstar still enjoying the fruits of labor done seven years ago, it makes sense that the developer wouldn't be rushing to churn out GTA 6. GTA Online is still incredibly popular and Rockstar is still producing new content for it. Perhaps this wait just means the company is looking to take advantage of next-gen consoles while also successfully bringing GTA Online players and lapsed GTA 5 players back into the fold.
As mentioned above, analyzing the Take-Two marketing budget successfully predicted the release window for Red Dead Redemption 2, so while this is all just speculation, it's definitely noteworthy.