2005 News Round Up: Take Two

12 12 2005

“Through December, Next Generation is running a series of features looking at how leading publishers fared in 2005, including the highlights and lowlights.”

  • Grand Theft Auto, was found to featured hidden sexual content. The game was pulled, reclassified, and became the subject of an FTC investigation, a class action lawsuit, untold lost dollars and gallons of media airtime. In short Take-Two became the focal point of the industry’s reputation for playing fast and loose. It may well be that, in a year of three hardware launches, this episode will be remembered as the most significant of the year.
  • Take Two were involved in deals for big brands like Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Warriors, Prey, 24, The Olympics, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Da Vinci Code, and Serious Sam.
  • Firaxis Games, home of industry icon Sid Meier, was picked along with its Civilization franchise. 2K Games had already been a partner to Firaxis in the marketing and release of Pirates and Civilization IV. The company also bought Sega’s sports studio Visual Concepts and its subsidiary Kush Games.
  • Possibly the biggest deal of the year was the pick-up of exclusive third-party publishing rights to MLB, pushing rivals like EA out to lesser licenses. The seven-year deal does not exclude hardware manufacturers from the market. Take-Two ended its association with ESPN following EA’s deal with the broadcast label.
  • Delays of key product out of the main selling season are one of those recurring nightmares for game publishers. Take-Two was forced to recalibrate its financial outlook (downwards) following the delay of Elder Scrolls IV, PSP GTA in Europe and GTA PS2 in Japan.
  • The company’s Rockstar label likes to see itself as edgy and macho. In an interview with the New York Times the company’s Sam House explained, “As a grown man, I find playing with an elf a little bit demeaning. We’re into gangster movies, car chases, ‘The Warriors,’ westerns and lots of other things. But we’re not expert in space or science-fiction or elves, and so we couldn’t do that well. It wouldn’t be fun for me to work on that stuff. And if we can’t have fun doing it, then the sheer amount of work that goes into making one of these games and the hideous hours that we have to work would be like being in prison.”

more @ Next-gen.biz

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