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Take-Two Shares Plummet

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the bounce dept.

Businesses 44

On news that Rockstar was being sued by the city of L.A., the aftermath of Hot Coffee, and the 'unhealthy relationship the board of directors has with its management' Take-Two Entertainment's shares dropped sharply on Friday. From the article: "Cooper said in a note that the company is burning cash at an 'alarming' rate and that he expects 'more title delays, a possible SEC investigation and key employee departures.' This comes immediately after the news that Audit Committee Chairwoman Barbara Kaczynski resigned from the board on January 19, because she felt that management had failed to keep the board informed of key issues."

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Sounds like time for a hostile takeover (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14589651)

I know a guy down in Vice City who'll get the job done right.

Office fire (3, Interesting)

allism (457899) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589653)

I wonder if the stock price was affected by the office fire [ign.com] earlier this week? It gives 'burning through cash' a whole different meaning.

Or maybe the stock price had something to do with the office fire...

And was I the only one that was surprised that Hot Coffee didn't result in a huge sales boom?

Sales not surprising (1)

Wokan (14062) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589709)

Hot Coffee was an interesting little "feature" of the game, but I don't know anybody who would part with the cash necessary to buy the game to see a game version of something that can find live recordings of in plenty of places on the Internet. (And I'm sure I'm not helping Google's case for fighting the government with that. I think the government official just wanted an easy way to find it because they couldn't figure it out themselves.) Great little bonus feature for those who are already in the sales figures, but nothing groundbreaking to reinvigorate sales.

Re:Office fire (3, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589714)

And was I the only one that was surprised that Hot Coffee didn't result in a huge sales boom?

It did... for starbucks [yahoo.com]

Re:Office fire (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592398)

Or maybe the stock price had something to do with the office fire...

I think it was caused by a combination of a salami scam and the theft of a swingline stapler.

Barbara Kaczynski (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589692)

The article failed to mention that Ms Kaczynski was a token boardmember -- she was the former CFO of the NFL and was supposed to help out with the NFL. EA's 5-year Madden deal did her in.

Flaming Coffee (2, Insightful)

Zephiris (788562) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589712)

Perhaps everyone involved with the whole San Andreas SNAFU will think twice before trying to put "hidden content" into a game that largely no one wants aside from fourteen year olds who are so craving for nudity that they'd be obsessing about pixelated polygons that take a vague shape (gee, who remembers that 'nude patch' for the Valkyrie in Gauntlet? It's all disgusting the way people are so deperate for it), lying about it, making a really bad patch for the game, then dropping all support, and screwing both users, the mod community, and...made the fundamentalists have more than enough excuse to increase the rate at which they try to shove new laws down our throats which do nothing to 'protect' anyone, but just further their careers (such as the Utah 'violent games as porn' bill).
Everyone going insane in making this, and over this, really needed a reality check (preferably the brutal hockey variety) in the first place.

Hi Jack (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14589729)

So now we know that Jack Thompson has a slashdot account....

Re:Flaming Coffee (1)

XO (250276) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589750)

i'd be willing to lay money that they had developed it, thought about leaving it in, and then dropped it when someone said "hey, wtf?"..

  or it just didn't get finished, like the skateboard ride/weapon.

More about the lawsuit (2, Informative)

robogymnast (755411) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589767)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060127/tc_nm/media_ta ketwo_lawsuit_dc [yahoo.com]
A better article about the lawsuit

My main problem is that LA is throwing the book at TakeTwo like they released the game with sex scenes in it, which they did not. There was no way to get to those scenes without using the third-party mod. You would think that this would not be a big deal - it's a GTA game for christ's sake.

Re:More about the lawsuit (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590936)

There was no way to get to those scenes without using the third-party mod.

A good working definition of a "mod" is "original content created and distributed by players." Not "a pornographic mini-game embedded in every commercial pressing of GTA: San Andreas." It became a big deal because Rockstar crossed the line --- the gangster game genre has few friends outside the gaming community.

Re:More about the lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14592442)

a pornographic mini-game embedded in every commercial pressing of GTA: San Andreas.

Ah, this isn't meant to be a flame, but you really don't know what you are talking about do you?

The game, as packaged, as delivered to stores, needed to be changed, or modded (read: have the game content modified) in order see some badly done simulations. Should we now have the creeping horrors over any game that can provide a simulation of basically any content based upon third party instructions? Damn, that just killed almost any scriptable content for any game or other application...

I know, I know! I bet I can also make a buck by filing lawsuits on the creators of any game that a 'nude patch' exists for!!! We can also then conveniently forget that this includes almost any game that includes models of human characters and that you need to change the content to access it!

For anyone with even two brain cells to rub together, real video of real people doing almost any type of sexual activity can be had free of charge from almost any internet connection. If you have a problem with skin, or sexual activity, go take your illogical crusade against that then please.

Re:More about the lawsuit (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592960)

The game, as packaged, as delivered to stores, needed to be changed, or modded (read: have the game content modified) in order see some badly done simulations.

Hot Coffee was found in both console pressings of the game. The console mini-games do not and can not draw on any third-party skins, scripts or other resources.

If you have a problem with skin, or sexual activity, go take your illogical crusade against that then please.

There have been creative talents like the late, lamented, Black Isle, who could have introduced sexual themes into gaming with intelligence, style and imagination.

I do have a problem with developers who show all the maturity of a high school sophomore who still keeps his stash of porn hidden under the bed.

Re:More about the lawsuit (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14593249)

The console version requires you to modify the game's save file on a PC to activate. And after you've played the through the scene, the game breaks. You are stuck in an eternal fall on the sidewalk in front of your girlfriend's house.

There is no way of accessing the sex minigame using only a video game console.

Re:More about the lawsuit (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590961)

Let's say reader's digest released an issue where there was a centerfold but it was between two pages which were sealed together along the outside, so that all you had to do was run a letter opener between them for a surprise. The principle of the thing is the same (I would however completely agree with you had this just been an internet mod which actually added the content, not which unlocked it).

Re:More about the lawsuit (1)

Null537 (772236) | more than 8 years ago | (#14593820)

For a surprise?

It's no surprise if you're installing the HC mod, you know what you're getting, and if you didn't want to see it you didn't have to run your letter opener over the pages.

Good riddance (4, Insightful)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 7 years ago | (#14589772)

I have a long memory, and I still haven't forgiven Take Two for releasing BC3K before it was finished way back when in order to cut their losses (at the expense of consumers who bought a literally unplayable mess). Remember, these are the people who decided to respond to years of delay on the game Battlecruiser 3000 by simply shipping what was done (a late alpha or early beta, and that's being generous) and selling it to the public as if it was a completed game. If you don't remember that whole scandal, do a web search for Take 2 and Battlecruiser.

They just seem to have a habit of releasing things a wee bit earlier than other major publishers and then skimping on the tech support to save a few pennies. Take one of my favorite series, Civilization. 1-3 were playable out of the box, although there were some bugs (Civ III's worst bug was that air superiority missions didn't work correctly). Now look at the first one to be released after Firaxis paired up with Take 2: Civ 4 was so buggy that it was unplayable with ATI cards (ie half the market). Even for nvidia owners there were graphics glitches, random crashes to desktop, memory leaks, and all other manner of nastiness.

Take 2 has become a huge publisher by pursuing profit at the expense of consumers. Don't expect them to change what seems to be working well for their wallets. It almost seems that Firaxis as the content creators fell down to the level of Take 2, their unfortunate choice of publisher. Given how much enjoyment I've received from previous Firaxis titles, I'm willing to give them a chance to make this game what it should be -- but I really wish they'd taken the high road to begin with.

I say good riddance to Take 2; I hope the company collapses. If not, I hope the current losses prompt the ouster of top management and a new approach to game publishing and customer service.

Re:Good riddance (2)

drgnvale (525787) | more than 7 years ago | (#14590060)

Isn't Take 2 publishing Oblivion? If so, they better not fucking fold until after my copy comes in. I don't want any delays while Bethesda finds a new publisher. Delays to make the game better, on the other hand... well, they can take their time on that.

Re:Good riddance (2)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 7 years ago | (#14590525)

2K games, a sub publisher of Take Two, is indeed publishing [gamespot.com] Oblivion.

Rats.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Schitzoflink (949390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14597606)

Well if Beth is telling us the truth then the Game is done...and even if Take 2 goes under and Beth has to find a new publisher...that would just give them time to add all the stuff they took out...and give me time to build my new rig...

Re:Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14590254)

Yes, BC3K, compare that with the literally almost unplayable mess the rest of the games have been. Love Derek Smart for what he's trying to do. Hate him for not knowing his limits.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14591236)

I have a long memory, and I still haven't forgiven Take Two for releasing BC3K before it was finished way back when in order to cut their losses (at the expense of consumers who bought a literally unplayable mess).

While it may have been better for Take Two to just kill BC3K outright (and thus teach Smartey Man Derek Smart a lesson), I can't help but think you got what you deserved for trusting in Mr. Smart. IIRC, it took Derek another 2-3 years before BC3K was available in a playable state, and that's just not acceptable. Maybe 3D Realms can get away with taking forever on games like Duke Nukem For(n)ever, but small developers like Derek Smart just don't have that luxury. Take Two had a bad set of choices -- kill the game, or release what's available. Waiting for the game to become playable was never an option.

Now look at the first one to be released after Firaxis paired up with Take 2: Civ 4 was so buggy that it was unplayable with ATI cards (ie half the market). Even for nvidia owners there were graphics glitches, random crashes to desktop, memory leaks, and all other manner of nastiness.

Odd. Pre-patch CIV played just fine on my ATI X300-based laptop. No graphical glitches, no crashes to the desktop, and no bluescreens. The only bugs I noticed were benign (gold trading glitch), and wile the end game did slow down due to excessive memory usage it was still playable enough to finish. In fact, the only problem I ever had with the game was that my laptop would get really hot after a 3-4 hour play session, making it uncomfortable to hold :). Post-patch, the end-game memory utilization seems to be better. Beyond that, since I didn't have any problems to begin with, it wasn't really a huge deal for me. Maybe I'm in the minority, I still have to disagree that CIV was unplayable out of the box.

Take 2 has become a huge publisher by pursuing profit at the expense of consumers. Don't expect them to change what seems to be working well for their wallets. It almost seems that Firaxis as the content creators fell down to the level of Take 2, their unfortunate choice of publisher. Given how much enjoyment I've received from previous Firaxis titles, I'm willing to give them a chance to make this game what it should be -- but I really wish they'd taken the high road to begin with.
I say good riddance to Take 2; I hope the company collapses. If not, I hope the current losses prompt the ouster of top management and a new approach to game publishing and customer service.

How many big publishers are left? Given the choice between Take Two releasing games that may need a patch or two or everything being published by EA, I'd take the former. Sure, Take Two could go away and we'd still have UbiSoft and Activision, but how long before those publishers die or get absorbed by the EA juggernaut? That's not to say that Take Two can't or shouldn't change, but to wish them gone is short-sighted at best and disastrous at worst.

Re:Good riddance (1)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592471)

Yep, I'm saying Take 2 should have killed the BC3K project and eaten the lost development revenue. Reputable businesses do this all the time -- they kill something that isn't working out (I seem to recall Blizzard doing just that with its planned Warcraft Adventures title when it realized the game wasn't going to be any good). There's a difference between releasing a bad game that might appeal to a few people and releasing a nonfunctional game that even genre fans can't play.

I never bought the game; I waited for reviews. Still, I had a great deal of sympathy for all the kids who did. And the Take 2 logo became the software equivalent of a skull and crossbones for me. I managed to avoid them until Civ IV came out, but I was too much of a Firaxis fan and Civ fanboy to resist buying it the day it came out.

Civ 4 (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14594666)

"Civ 4 was so buggy that it was unplayable with ATI cards (ie half the market). Even for nvidia owners there were graphics glitches, random crashes to desktop, memory leaks, and all other manner of nastiness."

Huh? I got Civ 4 the day it came out and it was completely playable with ATI cards (ie half the market). I never had random crashes to desktop or any sort of nastiness with it, pre patch.

Oh noes! (1)

TxdoHawk (470947) | more than 7 years ago | (#14590184)

Oh man, Take Two is in big trouble! What are they going to do?! It's not like they have a cash cow series like Grand Theft Auto to keep raking in the money until 2070...oh wait.

Re:Oh noes! (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592501)

Unfortunately, series die out when "key people" leave, because its new products will be entirely derivative and bland. Besides which, it takes money to make money, and if you're approaching the depths, you cannot develop a game without attracting investors. You cannot attract investors with a company that's gone from earning to burning money.

Did GTA Liberty CIty Stories.. (3, Interesting)

British (51765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590605)

....have any effect on it?

I wonder if they were banking having Liberty City Stories being their next cash cow(like GTA3 on up did), but fell way short of expectations.

It's understandable. They latched onto a next-gen portable(PSP) thinking it would sell like hotcakes, but it didn't. Not so much the fault of the game itself, but moreso the PSP itself not doing so well.

If I were them, I would have hired the multi-theft-auto developers full-time and make some sort of MMORPG stat to milk out the last of the GTA franchise. A multi player GTA would be more fun than LCS.

Re:Did GTA Liberty CIty Stories.. (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590974)

The multi-theft auto developers don't do as much as you seem to think. All of the GTAs have had a buggy multi-player mode included but locked away. The multi-theft guys just release a mod to unlock it and they fix a few of the bugs (and there are still tons of them at all times).

Re:Did GTA Liberty CIty Stories.. (1)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592574)

"All of the GTAs have had a buggy multi-player mode included but locked away."

Source? Seeing as that, err, isn't true. At all.

Re:Did GTA Liberty CIty Stories.. (1)

goodenoughnickname (874664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592439)

GTA:LCS must have not sold as well as expected, considering Take Two's bringing it to the PS2 by May [gamespot.com] .

But even if Take Two crumbles into the ground, I doubt there's any stopping a next-gen GTA. Someone will get a hold of the franchise and the people who make it, whatever the cost.

Re:Did GTA Liberty CIty Stories.. (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14593694)

The thing that really annoyed me about GTA:LCS is that it's a huge step back from Vice City and San Andreas. It's cool to be back in the original GTA3 universe, but losing most the improvements made in VC and SA is really annoying (no stats, no swimming etc.).

That said, this lawsuit is insane. I think now would be a good time to buy Take 2 stocks.

Now is the time to buy Take Two shares. (1)

sharopolis (819353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590676)

After the next installment of the GTA series on the PS3(?) sells a 100 zillion copies Im sure their value will bounce right back.

Seriously, whilst this comapny might have taken a few knocks of late, they have excellent form and if there was one developer you could bank on having more hits in the future then it's these people. They could release GTA: Antarctica and it'd sell.

Re:Now is the time to buy Take Two shares. (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14591187)

After the next installment of the GTA series on the PS3(?) sells a 100 zillion copies Im sure their value will bounce right back.

I hope so. Then all the shares I buy now will be worth a gazillion dollars.

Re:Now is the time to buy Take Two shares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14600012)

While the next GTA will most likely sell well, it doesn't mean Take 2 can coast on the series forever. If enough of the GTA3 team members leave, the following GTA games could lack in quality and eventually alienate consumers (Tomb Raider anyone?). Further, there is no indication that Take 2, and Rockstar in particular, is shying away from games that attract (costly) lawsuits (Bully for example). Further, other companies are already building games with similar gameplay to GTA (Streets of LA/NY for one example). While these titles certainly aren't at the level of GTA in terms of quality, if they keep improving, and Rockstar takes a misstep (or two), GTA will start to lose its appeal and sales (Tom Raider again). All of this, plus a (possible) SEC investigation, plus a history of releasing unfinished products all combine to make Take 2 a risky investment. I'm certainly not betting my money on them. But kudos to you if you get rich off of them.

Unhealthy Relationship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590692)

I can just imagine the board and management in a cheesy motel room...

Music playing, with the scent of coffee in the air...

Objection to mods? (1)

domipheus (751857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590708)

The city also claims that Take-Two "marketed the 'Grand Theft Auto' series in a fashion that encourages the creation of (software modifications), which has added to the counter-culture image of the games, enhancing their popularity and hence their profitability."


Whats with this? Should Activision, ubisoft, etc, start shaking in their boots?

Seems like they are just trying to fill up the page with more waffle.

Idea. (0)

Xymor (943922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14591141)

They are one screw-up away from Bush demanding every copy of GTA:SA to be burned cos it could potencially be used to train terrorist attacks.

Re:Idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14594869)

Hmm, so could America's Army. It's no big secret that Bin Laden was trained by the CIA. Why not have future terrorists inspired by our own armed forces' recruiting tools?

leave them alone (2, Insightful)

Karem Lore (649920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592438)

For the love of God, leave them alone...This is pathetic. Even if Take Two go down the game makers will just re-combine to create a new outfit and still produce morally questionable games. But please, the hot coffee fiasco is just mindless waste of taxpayers money...

My View (2, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14592724)

It seems as if hot coffee did a lot of damage to them, over something so trivial as what it actually was. This can be attributed to the media twisting it, I have read newspapers and websites that had the ordacity to claim that the hot coffee mode was standard in the game and was unlocked in the options and other similar lies, along with the whole war on porn/violent video games this has made for an unhealthy media climate which does not like the GTA games one bit.

It also reminds me of the treatment of hentai [hentai.co.uk] in the western world, with papers claiming that it is promoting rape/murder/violence to the young audience that view it, which has resulted in some distrubution firms having to close due to massive losses and protests at the sale of their products.

I think at the end of the day Take Two and Rockstar need to sit down and work through their problems, because if one falls it has the potential to bring the other down with it, and with so many people waiting for the next installment in the GTA franchise, they would be missing out on a lot of money.

No big deal (2, Funny)

ShadowMarth (870657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14594286)

So what? I mean, does anyone actually think that this is the end? Even should Take-Two go down (which is likely at this point), it will simply be bought by a larger development company (Microsoft). On the bright side, Jack Thompson is losing money on his stock...

Jack Johnson .... (1)

FluffyG (692458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14595817)

bought shares of TT which means he lost money... We should always look on the brighter side of things :D

Pish (1)

Magius_AR (198796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602645)

Mood selling...shares have since rebounded more than 10% [yahoo.com] in a single day and are looking to continue to climb.
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