Ben Feder is a name that a lot of you might not be familiar with. Take-Two is also a company that if you are not in the gaming media you may not know. But we are positive that you know the studios they own and the games that they make. Take-Two is the parent company of Rockstar Games, makers of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption as well as 2K which under multiple labels publisher games like NBA 2K, Bioshock and Mafia.
According to the company, Feder’s decision has everything to do with his desire to “pursue plans to travel in Asia with his family for an extended period.” Upon his exit on January 1, Take-Two executive chairman Strauss Zelnick will also take over the role of CEO. Feder became Take-Two’s acting CEO and a board member in March 2007. In 2008, the company officially appointed him to the CEO post with a management agreement that extended through October 31, 2012.
As Feder departs, it doesn’t seem that much will change at Rockstar or 2K but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t an important transition. While most of you probably believe that Take-Two should be rolling in dough with the success of the Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, Bioshock and other titles, that isn’t the case. In the last 4 years, the company has only been in the black once and that was back in 2008. Can anyone guess what happened in 2008, if you guessed it was the last time that a major GTA title was released then you would be right. In the years before and after that the company actually suffered significant losses.
Many of you are probably asking how a company that owns studios that makes such great games could have money problems. From where I am sitting, it is probably the fact that those games have lengthy development cycles and large price tags and the company has had trouble recouping all the cost in years past. From a volume standpoint, Take-Two also releases a lot less games than their counterparts. Until the huge success of Red Dead Redemption, many people called Rockstar a one trick pony and predicted doom when they announced it would not be a new GTA in 2010. From the 2K angle, 2K Sports has always done well but 2K Games has really only started to find great success in the last few years with releases like BioShock and Mafia 2.
The video game industry is an up and down market, but their major competitors generate more than triple the revenue annually than that of Take-Two, though they have not been immune to losses and have been in the red themselves in recent years. So what’s the answer for Take-Two? I really can’t say but I think they need to look into buying some more studios and fostering the creation of new IP’s in order to expand their appeal and increase revenue.
But enough rambling from me, what do you guys think? What should Take-Two do to become more competitive with companies like EA and Activision?