$18 million windfall for Rockstar's rock stars

Take-Two issuing more than 2.8 million shares to Housers, key studio members following GTAIV's 13-million-unit shipment.

As part of its post-earnings conference call yesterday, Take-Two Interactive said that a full 40 percent of its business during the November-January corner came from its subsidiary, Rockstar Games. Namely, the publisher announced that Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV has now shipped more than 13 million units since the top-rated action adventure game launched on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last April. (The game was also released for the PC in December.)

GTAIV's sucess bodes well for top Rockstar management, including studio cofounders Sam and Dan Houser and the game's producer, Leslie Benzies. As part of their contract renegotiations announced in December, the Housers and other top Rockstar personnel were offered a stock-based profit-sharing arrangement in order to retain their services until January 31, 2012.

Related to that deal, Take-Two revealed yesterday that it plans to remunerate "certain employees of Rockstar Games" with 2,849,003 restricted shares in the company during its current fiscal year, which ends October 31, 2009. Take-Two notes that the stock issuance is not yet final, as stockholders will be required to approve the compensation at the company's annual meeting on April 23.

Highly volatile since EA walked away from its $26-per-share buyout offer in September, Take-Two's stock was trading at $6.36 a share as of press time. Therefore, if and when the stock issuance is approved, Rockstar employees covered under the agreement stand to gain roughly $18 million total in stock-based compensation.

The profit-sharing deal is likely to continue lining Rockstar brass's personal coffers for some time. In February, Rockstar released the first Xbox 360-exclusive expansion pack for GTAIV, setting a one-day Xbox Live sales record in the process. While Take-Two declined to comment on The Lost and Damned's exact sales figures, prolific Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter expects the DLC to sell 2 million by the end of October. Rockstar plans to release Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the DS later this month, and the game maker is also prepping a second Xbox 360-only DLC for GTAIV.

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Discussion

45 comments
raptures330
raptures330

Employees having shares = having a stake in what they make. I like that philosophy... Wonder who the new episode will have... wouldn't mind being Badman... As for the $50 Million debate: $50 Million in hand is always better than POSSIBLY $100 Million later on (means you could end up with $0.99 and can buy a sad song on iTunes to sit and listen to while you feel sorry for yourself for making bad business decisions) :D

IWillKickU
IWillKickU

@angelcar Are you suggesting that Take Two nets 100% profit on the cost of every download? I don't know all the ins and outs of videogame royalties, but I'm an author, and my royalties were about 25% of total sales. I'd assume that Take Two gets a similar cut, so instead of $50 million, you're looking at about $12.5 mil in income for Take Two, made off of thier best selling console platform. in order to match the $50 mil that MS threw at them they'd need to sell 10 million episode downloads. Even with PS3 and PC sales, I don't see that happening. Of course this is assuming that my figures are correct, but honestly, all either of us can do is guess about that.

angelcar
angelcar

IWillKickU: MS paid 50M to Take Two for exclusivity of both episodes. That translates to just 2.5M downloads. So far 13M copies of GTA IV have been sold on all platforms, and they expect to sell 2M copies of the FIRST EPISODE by October. I find it hard to believe that Take Two couldn't have made that 50M by selling the DLC on all platforms. This deal made perfect sense for Microsoft, but TTWO ended up on the losing side. They're losing money from PS3 and PC users who would be more than willing to buy the episodes, plus they have alienated millions of Play Station fans who have been loyal to the franchise from its inception.

angelcar
angelcar

brendanhunt1: Rockstar is a division of Take Two...

TheArcade
TheArcade

Well said. T2 got their money already, more to come in the next DLC pack.

RockZillaX
RockZillaX

That's brilliant.. I love seeing game makers succeed with sales cause it mean's more and better games!

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

when microsoft made the deal, did rockstar agree with it or did take two make them

IWillKickU
IWillKickU

The original comment that kicked off the flame war was that R*/Take Two would have made more money if they release LAD on both consoles. This simply is not true. MS paid much more to Take Two for exclusivity than Take Two would have made off PS3 DLC sales. Otherwise they wouldn't have accepted the deal. More people would have downloaded the DLC, but PS3 reveniews would not have equaled the price tag that MS paid for exclusivity. It was a good move for Take Two, because they made more money. And it was a good move for MS, because they got a boost in console sales after the announcement, more revinew from XBL, and multi-console owners presumably would have bought the game on 360 rather than PS3, so they could get the DLC. Personally, I like to see things go multiplatform. There's no reason to hold a game off of one if you're a third party developer, but the money that MS was throwing at Take Two couldn't be ignored. From a business standpoint, it made a lot of sense.

XanderKage
XanderKage

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

XanderKage
XanderKage

I'm guessing it's too late now, but I'll try to comment... SO, Alex, what is there to read, exactly in your first post (which is deleted now, apparently)? All you do is say that PS3 sucks and X360 rules (for some crazy reasons that make sence only to you). How is this not fanboy-ish? Anyway, that's not the worst of it -after taking the flames for that post, you start acting like you've been flamed for no reason, and that everyone hate you for no reason and that you are some kind of a misunderstood saint... Don't know about others, but I can't take people like you seriously. Sigh.. why d I even try.. I realise it's pointless to reason with you........ Oh, BTW, don't get me wrong, I don't like you not because you're a X360 fanboy, I don't like your kind of fanboys in general. In a related story, GTA is awesome, and it's good to see R* are profiting.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Good to see that GTA is doing good

npkgardens
npkgardens

Well their still not getting any of my money until: 1.) They drop the GFWL requirement for GTA4 on PC's (fat chance, I know), or 2.) The price for GTA4 comes down substantially. I'm stubborn, so I can wait.

TheArcade
TheArcade

Eer...okay so you must have been kidding about the whole HD-DVD being better than Blu-Ray thing right? That's not what I read but then again I wasn't wearing my reading glasses. Moving on. Listen guy I love Xbox 360 about as much as you do but it's just a bad idea to copy PS3 fanboys behavior because they'll throw the typical "but Xbox fanboys are bad too!" line at you and then you'll engage yourselves in a tit-for-tat which isn't good for anybody. Though I will admit the sheer number of PS3 fanboys that are saying "Halo sux! MGS4 made perfect 10 everywhere and is teh God game of all gamez, lol." has risen within' the past year... I also did notice a ridiculous number of them taking issue to the fact that 360 games such as GTA IV and Fallout 3 have exclusive DLC. There appears to be plenty of whiners in Sony camp on that subject, but when the topic of exclusive content for Unreal Tournament 3 and Mirror's Edge for the PS3 surfaces there aren't too many 360 fanboys who are complaining. Same can be said about exclusive full games, when Xbox 360 lost Bioshock there wasn't hardly anyone throwing a fit and bashing Sony or Take-Two. Sure I seen a few people say "M$ should have published the game." but it's rare to really find someone complaining about it. Same goes for Lost Planet and Dead Rising. It has come to my attention that even though I wouldn't like it...most MS fans DON'T CARE if their games get ported. The only thing Xbox fans seem to really care about is Halo. Now when it comes to PS3 fanboys on the other hand. Even they can acknowledge it themselves the amount of whining and crying they did over having lost Final Fantasy XIII, Tekken 6, and DMC4 as exclusives. There is even a petition for DMC4 stating the reasons why the game should remain PS exclusive... a petition, come on. Xbox lovers didn't make a petition when Ninja Gaiden Sigma was announced for PS3. I think what it is, is Sony fanboys have had exclusives for YEARS! I think now that they finally got some real competition alot of them hate the idea of their precious games going to another console, that goes for any additional content for games that used to be PS exclusive as well () While Sony fanboys do indeed suck; Xbox/Wii fanboys aren't saints! I often find them slandering the PS3 for it's heavy price range and saying "their's no games for it." and "the PS2 was better." Even though you said in this thread you'll buy a PS3 you can't say that in every post you make so for all they know you're a 360 fanboy and will be viewed as such.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I'm sure they will but my understanding is that those stock options include the grunts as well as the top brass collectively. They (the developers including the programmers, graphics artists et al) should be compensated in that fashion with the 18 million if they aren't then that would be a shame cause they deserve it. Actually in after thought I'm pretty sure they want to actually be paid with money they can use now cause this their job and stocks can cause you to lose just as much as you stand to gain upon sell. I'm pretty sure they want a sure thing. Though let's be honest, of most videogame companies? Rockstar games is a sure thing. So yeah give them that stock.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

@chibi: "Oh, good for the developers." the news talked little about the developers. It is good for the R* brass though... Hopefully they share it down to the developers in some fashion...

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

There's a ton of console wars/fanboy arguments in this thread, and only a couple people who said, "Oh, good for the developers." Sheesh.

Afylan
Afylan

@brendanhunt1 yeah he IS saying that HD DVD is better then blu ray its and I think he removed his quick comment, cant find it.

Hot-Tamale
Hot-Tamale

That's one way to get around income caps... I might not like it, especially with this economic crisis, but no one's going to stop them from paying out their top guys in this way.

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

lol, somehow i managed to break even so far.....and all i said is that they would make MORE money, cause yknow, MORE money is always a good thing.

Alex_09
Alex_09

Lastly check out a movie called In Bruges or something like that, it actually is pretty good and has Colin Ferell. Also Tigerland isn't bad.

Alex_09
Alex_09

How am I an idiot XanderKage? You obviously cannot read, and yet I am an idiot. Here I won't go over the three sentence maximum for you this time. Playing the part of a saint central09?? You are a moron. How am I playing the part of a saint? I own a PS2, I own a 360, and I own a PC. I am not a fanboy, and will buy a PS3 when they are a bit lower in price. I hate a lot of PS3 fans, because they act like children. Do you want to see for yourself? Check out the Killzone 2 forums, then tell me I'm a fanboy... The fact is, I am sick of PS3 players whining about not getting fallout DLC or GTA DLC, when the same ones come laughing in our faces when sweet games like MGS4, Little Big Planet, and Killzone 2 are announced to be exclusively for them. But don't mind me, I'm a stupid jackass Colin Ferill(?). p.s. If George Clooney is the best actor you can name, you are by far the stupidest person on gamespot..

XanderKage
XanderKage

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

central09
central09

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

PhilipO38
PhilipO38

13 million say averaging $50(with the CE version at $90 and then price drops for the regular version since it's release), and then add in some 2 million TLAD's($20 each) to be sold by this fall, and another 2 million with the second DLC.(another $20 each) Say Rockstar sells 15 million copies by the end of 09' averaging $50 since launch, add in 4 million(at $20 each) combined for the two DLC's . That's say 830 million $$, add in with the $50 million from MS for the DLC's, and this game could rake in a total of close to 1 brillion $, by the spring of 2010. In turn, expect any new next generation owner to buy the X360 version if they want the complete GTA:IV experience, so you can still expect a good amount of sales to continue this fall when the DLC2 arrives on the 360. For the full version expect this year the sales to continue to be pretty high on the 360 given the 2 DLC's. DLC's are the future of gaming, and it really was needed for the 360, since GTA:IV takes up nearly 7 Gig's and the TLAD close to another 2 Gig's, add in a probable 1.5-2Gig's for the 2nd DLC, and the min. ammount of capacity you would need to store the whole GTA:IV game and DLC's would be 10-11gig's, which is more then a DVD-9 can hold. When MS releases it's new Xbox in late 2010 or 2011(the latest it will be released), bank on Blu-Ray to be it's storage used, but even with it's larger capacity of 25 Gig's, the developers may want even more storage, and this is where DLC's are so huge. Especially with HDD's that should aproach a Terabyte with the next generation of consoles.(these already are in high end pc's now). DLC's are the future, both $$$ wise and capacity wise.

central09
central09

like i care about grand theft auto...anyone who even bothers with that game anymore lacks the ability to appreciate a game that is actually good...i stopped playin any story missions the moment i unlocked all the islands, like i always do with GTA because the game is more or less a repetitive load garbage...i wouldnt play The Lost and the Damned if microsoft payed me the money they payed rockstar for exclusive rights! AND to the 2 million people who supposedly bought it! "U R ALL MORONS!" ^^ the end :D

DoomReaper45
DoomReaper45

Dom't care too much about all the stock figures and predictions. I just want to see how much The Lost and the Damned has sold. Don't understand why they aren't telling us the figures. And Narc can get the hell out of this thread and play some Pokemon Adventure games. GTA IV was made for a mature audience, people who can play a game for 5 minutes without shooting a hundred people and not getting bored. The game was awesome in so many ways.

Alex_09
Alex_09

*EDIT*(Switched the numbers on that 3 out of 12 part) Wow you guys took me seriously... I am ******* off these boards. Too many idiots. As great as some of you are, and there are a lot of good people here, I have just seen too many moronic replies, topics, and articles for that matter.. So here we go for my final response... XanderKage, you are an idiot. Halo is not that great in my opinion, but I honestly do think the third one was better than the fourth GTA. You obviously read half of my post, so once again, you are an idiot. brendanhunt1, I can't be as hard on you, but I did explain I was purposely acting like every single PS3 fanboy that lurks on our xbox forums. The definition of a troll should only be applied to PS3 owners as of this year, because never have I seen so many bridge walking cave dwellers. TheArcade, I know blu ray is better, I can find that out for myself based on the sales comparison between it and HD DVDs. I was just pulling a PS3 owner, but on xbox's side. It's sad that out of 12 people, only 3 actually understood what I was doing, therefore actually finished my post before rating it... Not that I care but still, this kind of outlines, for the final time, how stupid some of you people act. I'm going to go watch treehouse TV (a show for little kids for those of you who are lucky enough to not know what this channel is) for a couple of days straight to dumb myself down until I belong here again, I suggest anyone else who can finish reading three sentences to do the same.

kickass106
kickass106

O 2 mil Tlads sold. r* it would be 4 mil and if Tlad was on PS3 for $20. 2mil times 20= 40 mil and thats basically as much as MS bribed them.

zeeshan810
zeeshan810

13 Million GTA IV Sold and still selling!!!!! KEEP IT UP R* R** made that game so damn GOOD! :D LOVED IT :)

okassar
okassar

What?!I was going to put $1000 into Take-Two today,does this mean I can't buy shares from them?

XanderKage
XanderKage

Ah, the lols... I wanted to post something about the story, but I saw someone say that Halo is -quote-"good"-unquote- and I burst out in an uncontrollable laughter...

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

gta was on pc first but then added to playstation 7 months later

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

@Alex_09 your not saying that hd dvd are better than blu ray are you?

84diesel
84diesel

They make "fun" games. They deserve some compensation for their time and effort. Bonuses should make the workers want to make the BEST game not the AVERAGE one.

TheArcade
TheArcade

Nope. The GTA series got started on the PC.

TheArcade
TheArcade

Now c'mon, was that really nessesary? You just provided flame bate for 360 fanboys and you were the first person to comment so they know where to find you, page one. Prepare to get thumbs downed all the way to hell.

metalkid9
metalkid9

thats nice. now lets see some updates from their upcoming games

simonsworld
simonsworld

the one company/game concept EA would love to own,smooth at least someones making a few quid in this economy crisis

Alex_09
Alex_09

PS3 can't handle it GodsPoison. Xbox has HD DVDs, meaning it's automatically better. Killzone sucks, Halo is betterz! lulz You PS3 owners just don't deserve it, because you act like the example above. Most of you anyways.

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

Good to see that they made a lot of money

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

yknow they would have made MORE money off of the dlc if it had been released on both consoles.......