Irrational Games founder and Bioshock creator Ken Levine announced via the Irrational Games web site that the studio would be shutting down and laying off all but 15 people. The studio, which was bought out by 2K Games (Take-Two) in January of 2006, will shut down after it finishes up work on the BioShock Infinite downloadable content, the second part of Burial at Sea. The DLC is set for release next month.
Publisher Take-Two Interactive released financial results for its fiscal third quarter ending December 31, 2013, revealing that it raked in a whopping $578 million in profits. The company attributed the lion's share of this profit to its latest game in the popular Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto V.
Eurogamer has confirmed with 2K Games that the headquarters of 2K Czech in Prague (where Mafia 3 was rumored to be in development) has been closed and some of the staff has been moved to its offices in Brno. Some staff were laid off as well.
Twenty-five executives and experts in the interactive entertainment industry are taking part in an event to discuss how New York City lawmakers can attract and support an industry that generates nearly $5 billion a year today. The event is being hosted and sponsored by Polytechnic Institute of New York University (in Brooklyn, NY).
Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive told fans in this support forum thread that it is "happy for fans" to upload gameplay footage, but warns them that any videos containing spoilers and other "in-game entertainment" will be flagged for removal via a takedown notice to whatever service they might be using.
Rockstar Games' upcoming open-world action game Grand Theft Auto V may have cost up to $266 million to develop and market, according to a report by Scottish newspaper The Scotsman. The article also claims that industry analysts expect the game "could sell" upwards of 25 million copies in its first year on the market. That would generate over $1.56 billion in sales for Take-Two Interactive, they say.
Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive filed a complaint this week with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seeking to claim the domain GTAV.com. The domain name is currently registered to a Spanish resident and listed as "for sale." While the domain name currently redirects users to the official Grand Theft Auto V website, in February it sent users to a blog about the game.
Take-Two has filed more over 24 disputes against websites related to GTA V - including one that promised access to a beta test of the game (gta5betacode.com).
While Microsoft, Sony, and even Nintendo seem to be on the same page about messing with used games on their new systems, publishers are still being non-committal about how they will approach used games sales in this new generation. In the past some have tried everything from always-on DRM to online passes and even forcing customers to use software clients in order to play their games.
Speaking to an audience at the Cowen Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference this week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick describes Microsoft's plan for a licensing fee on used games as "punishing consumers," and makes it sounds like his company is not in the loop when it comes to getting some of that licensing fee on Xbox One games.
For the fiscal year that ended on March 31, publisher Take-Two recorded a loss of $31.2 million on revenue of approximately $1.2 billion, the company announced last night. For the fourth quarter, the company raked in revenue of of $299.5 million, up from $148.1 million from the same period a year ago. Net income for the quarter was $21.2 million, up from a net loss of $66 million from the same period a year ago.
2K Games will not be on the show floor at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo this summer, according to an announcement on its website. The company did not give any particular reason for not attending this year's show, only promising to release information on its slate of upcoming games later this spring.
ESPN is reporting that Take-Two Interactive has signed an exclusive five-year deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to create and publish WWE-based wrestling games. The new WWE-based games will fall under the name "WWE 2K," with the first game to be released this fall as WWE 2K14, reports ESPN. Take-Two and the WWE have not made an official announcement about this deal yet.
After announcing that Grand Theft Auto V would be getting released a little later in the year than was previously announced and expected, some financial analysts have decided to adjust their opinion on Take-Two Interactive's future earnings. One such firm is BMO Capital Markets.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward S. Williams said in a note to investors that Take-Two moving the upcoming launch of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V for the PS3 and Xbox 360 from a spring 2013 release window to Sept. 17 will have an impact:
As news of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Connecticut were coming to light on December 14, the finishing touches were being put on a deal with the Nevada Economic Development Board and Take-Two Interactive (see Vegas Inc. for the details). This week that deal is being questioned by the media in the state.
According to documents unearthed by Motley Fool, Billionaire Ken Griffin has increased his financial stake in publisher Take-Two Interactive. Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group now holds 5.5 million shares in the company, according to a December 28 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That's a substantial jump from the 3 million shares of Take-Two stock held by Griffin's group in October of 2012.
My, Mr. Zelnick sure is chatty this week.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GameSpot UK that the secret to Grand Theft Auto's continued success is the fact that the games are released years apart, making each debut special.
"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent," said Zelnick, "then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously views the world differently."
The transition to the next generation of consoles will not be without a few casualties, says Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.
"If you're not capitalized for the transition, you can find out that you're not there for the transition. And historically, in every transition that's occurred in this business, one or two third-parties have gone out of business."
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Michael "Shagg" Washington has failed to convince an appeals court in California that a lower court's ruling on his case against Take-Two Interactive over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas didn't have merit. The lower court ruled that the case filed by the model and backup singer for the rap group Cypress Hill against Take-Two in 2010 was without merit.
Apparently some XCOM: Enemy Unknown players have declared to 2K Games' Firaxis that easy mode isn't all that easy and that they wouldn't mind something done about it. Firaxis has listened to the community (as detailed in this forum thread) and plans to tone things down a bit with a second patch - release date to be determined.
Besides making the game a lot easier in easy mode across all platforms, the patch will deal with a number of other issues that have cropped up:
Take-Two Interactive today released its earnings report for the three months ended September 30, posting booming revenues for the quarter, but warning that it would fall drastically short of its full year projections. It posted net revenues of $273.1 million, up from $107 million from the same period a year ago. During that same period a year ago Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition helped drive the company's revenues.
Today publisher Take-Two announced that it would delay releasing its second quarter earnings report for the fiscal year 2013 and conference call due to the "catastrophic weather conditions in the regions of its corporate headquarters." New York City is currently suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused widespread flooding, power outages, and a closure of most means of transportation in and out of town.
A nine-page article in Boston Magazine takes an in-depth look at why former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's company 38 Studios failed and offers the first glimpse inside that company's studio structure, the dysfunction of management, Schilling's opinion on the Kingdoms of Amalur MMO Copernicus, and details on a publishing deal that Schilling claims was almost finalized.
Take-Two Interactive revealed that BioShock Infinite would not be released until early 2013. The game was scheduled for release in October of this year. Irrational Games' Ken Levine said that the extra time would be used to "make Infinite into something even more extraordinary." While fans of the series were disappointed by the news, Take-Two investors took it particularly hard; Take-Two's stock fell 5.7 percent to $12.64 by 12:30 pm after falling to $12.51 earlier in the day. The drop was the lowest intraday price for the stock since Oct. 5 of 2011.
Update: Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has issued a short statement to Game Informer apologizing for his comments about THQ:
"While discussing our strategy I spoke out of turn about someone else’s. It was inappropriate and I regret it."
Another day, another story about game developer layoffs in Australia. This time it's at the 2K Marin studio in New South Wales. According to a Kotaku report, citing asource who wished to remain anonymous, 15 employees have been laid off from the studio formerly known as 2K Canberra. 2K Marin co-developed BioShock 2, and is reportedly involved in developing a new X-Com project.
Here's something you don't want to hear from developers: we didn't make DLC to give fans new content, we did it to combat used game sales. I'm paraphrasing, but that's sort of what a top Take-Two Interactive executive told a gathering at ThinkEquity's 8th Annual Growth Conference in New York City earlier this week. Concerning the first batch of downloadable content released for its hit game Red Dead Redemption, he said: