New Take-Two execs take questions

Freshly installed management team lays out five issues to address in first 100 days, aims for more exclusive sports licenses.

The freshly installed Take-Two Interactive management team has a New Deal for investors, and in a conference call with analysts today laid out its goals for their first 100 days in control.

"The focus of our 100-day plan is to address each of the main issues facing the company," new Take-Two CEO Ben Feder explained. "As we've already said, our overall objective and intentions are to support and enhance Take-Two's creative output, improve margins and bring the company back in line with its peers and to ensure that [the] 2007 pipeline meets expectations and that 2008 is a highly productive year."

To do that, Feder laid out five issues that he and chairman of the board Strauss Zelnick plan to address in the next three months. The first priority is addressing the company's organizational structure, part of which involves simply getting the new management in place.

"It also includes reviewing and addressing the cost structure across the organization which is well underway," Feder said. "Secondary is assessing all business units and developing strategic alternatives for business that are determined to be non-core, unprofitable, and marginal and we're moving as quickly as possible in this regard."

Zelnick would later label the company's distribution business as "non-core," but did note that it is the largest of its kind in North America, it is profitable, and that no decisions have been made about it yet.

The remaining focal issues include "maximizing the value of critical external relationships," instituting a disciplined approach to greenlighting games (and knowing when to pull the plug on a floundering project), and resolving what's left of the company's legal and regulatory woes. Take-Two made one such step this morning with the announcement that it has regained compliance with the NASDAQ stock market's listing requirements.

Zelnick and Feder also discussed 2K Sports, and cast some doubt on achieving the previous management's stated goal of seeing the division reach profitability by the end of 2007. They didn't rule it out, but they did say if it becomes profitable, it won't be by much. Zelnick also brought up the possibility of future grabs for sports-license exclusivity.

"It's challenging to be in the sports business," Zelnick told analysts. "We have to examine all parts of the business. We certainly have to create some more exclusivity than we have now. We don't have enough exclusivity except in baseball. Exclusivity helps drive the business, and frankly, I think the strategy the Company has pursued so far in terms of the game development which is just make the best games in the business is our best hope of building a business. But there are some economic underpinnings in the business that we need to get more comfortable with and we need to act upon and we intend to do so in partnership with our licensors, and I think we will do so successfully and I think we'll build the business."

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25 comments
MadGamer132
MadGamer132

i hope for the best, some things never change.

wenbin09
wenbin09

i would love to see them coming up with a soccer game

WESLY_SNYPES
WESLY_SNYPES

Rockstar games might be streamlined because they have about 8 development companies. This might be in line with controlling which games are made or cut loose. Visual Concepts will probably stay because they provide steady sales because they are the only decent alternative to EA but they probably won't get the NFL exclusive license due to the high profile legal problems of Take Two. Firaxis has Sid Meier and they make decent games including Civilization. Gotham Games and Talonsoft should be on the chopping block.

ufopuller
ufopuller

Geeeze, do these companies change management every 3 months?

sugreev2005-06
sugreev2005-06

As long as only 2K games is in the line of fire...it dosen't concern me.Nothing should happen to Rockstar,and that's the only thing I care about.

jackle2071
jackle2071

so now take2 is going to start shelling out crap games like EA? well just leave the team who mkaes GTA ALONE!!

zsc4
zsc4

To be hones, I'm not a fan of sports games...so either way it doesn't effect me :P

xuimod
xuimod

To Sp1d3r-06: '....the new board is trying to turn Take-Two into the next EA. Notice he says profitable games before quality games, but he disguises it in that business speak.' The board had to go this route. If Take2 didn't change, Take2 probably wouldn't have existed in a year or two (ie they probably would have declared bankrupcy or simple sold out). I would rather have a more corporate Take2 (that's able to survive and do well in the game ***business***) than no Take2 at all. But lets face it, the old days of the wild west culture at Take2 are over. But it was a necessary change for the company to survive.

Sp1d3r-06
Sp1d3r-06

At kavadias1981: NASDAQ= National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System (I think, anyway) At the story: This sounds as though the new board is trying to turn Take-Two into the next EA. Notice he says profitable games before quality games, but he disguises it in that business speak.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

If you can tell me what NASDAQ stands for then you can have my thumbs up.

wrect
wrect

You gotta love non-sense-ical business speak! Take Two should be sure to leverage its core competencies to better exploit market forces, and thereby integrate dynamic synergies... outside the box...

Thunder-Raiden
Thunder-Raiden

I hate it, but until peoples pockets start saying exclusivity sucks, there is nothing we can do. The NFL drives Madden now, and unless people start hating football there is nothing we can do to even diminish Madden. Madden is successful because NFL Professional Football is entertaining.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

They can talk about exclusivity all they want, but the NBA and the NHL have clearly expressed their disinterest in exclusive relationships, probably because they see how crappy Madden and MLB2K are nowadays. For the rest of the article, I'm glad to see T2 cleaning house. This needed to happen. We should all be happy that this company's going to try to be profitable in years where they don't have a home console GTA.

CyphenX
CyphenX

You tell 'em VegetaMaelstrom. Take-Two has now become a money/buisness focused, soulless corporation in the vein of EA. I don't agree with this at all.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

"We certainly have to create some more exclusivity than we have now. We don't have enough exclusivity except in baseball. Exclusivity helps drive the business" Oh, hell no! We don't need more sporting monopolies like EA has with the NFL. Exclusivity may "drive the business" but it sure doesn't provide any incentive for companies to improve games year over year. Look at the next gen Maddens for example. I've enjoyed 2k's sports titles over the years but I hope they don't aquire any more exclusive sports deals. That lack of healthy competition just encourages staleness. At least they didn't talk about plastering in-game ads everywhere to help bring in revenue like a lot of other companies are gloating about now-a-days.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

What about it's defense against Jack Thompson?

FistOfFuryGT
FistOfFuryGT

Why is there no mention of supporting Nintendo? That was the best part of the whole conference! I knew it! Gamespot is anti-Nintendo! I like the gamasutra article better, at least it mentions it.

mixhawkeye
mixhawkeye

So hiring monkey's bashing keyboards wasn't apart of the agenda? WTF?!?!?!

Somini
Somini

All this publicity that T2's getting, it never stops. Thompson (who's obviously hired by T2) has done his job, even Gamespot's giving something like two "news" a day about them, impressing. This will probably mean that GTAIV will be the best selling game of all time. Congratulations on a great PR stunt!