Can Take-Two be profitable in non-GTA years?

There’s no need to debate whether or not it’s fantastic for Take-Two to have Rockstar on their side. Grand Theft Auto IV brought in over $500 million, and it isn’t the only success; previous GTA games have also been booming for the last seven or so years. Critique have been pointed at Take-Two for relying too much on the GTA series for their revenue and achievements, but is it true?

No it’s not, according to Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick. In an interview with Venture Beat, he explains why the skeptics should rethink, “I know that is one of the impressions that’s been leveled at the company. The reason it’s been an issue is because of the company’s economic volatility.”

Take-Two have always been a bit frisky with their money-management. In 2004, Take-Two bought the rights to the Civilization franchise from Infogrames for over $22 million and in 2005, they spent over $80 million on different game developers, thus making the cash flow a bit low on profit.

“In a release year for a GTA game, the company would make money. In a non-release year, it wouldn’t. One thing we said to investors is that we don’t expect to drive all of the volatitility out of an entertainment company. But we do think it is our obligation to deliver a profitable enterprise year in and year out. We took enormous steps to reduce the costs of the company.,” Zelnick continues.

It’s not true that Take-Two relies solely on the GTA franchise. BioShock was a huge success, and The Wall Street Journal reported that shares in Take-Two “soared nearly 20%”after the release of the game in August 2007 and to this day, over 2.2 million copies of the game have been shipped. Except BioShock, Take-Two is enjoying success with games such as Carnival Games, Civilization and Midnight Club LA.

It also seems as the ongoing controversy with the hostile takeover bid from EA isn’t lowering Take-Two’s morale. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, CEO Ben Feder said when questioned about the situation, “Our strategy is to focus on our titles, make the best games we can and distribute in the best possible ways. Since the situation with EA became public we’ve launched multiple successful titles including GTA IV.”

It seems as if Take-Two could flourish even without GTA being there to plough the road for them. What can’t be denied is that Rockstar and GTA probably is one of the best buddies to have fighting on your side, and that it would be foolish to do anything to let them go.

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