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Take-Two's Zelnick: 'We Need To Get Bigger'

Take-Two's Zelnick: 'We Need To Get Bigger'

April 13, 2010 | By Kris Graft

April 13, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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New York-based publisher Take-Two is the owner of arguably the biggest video game franchise in the industry in Grand Theft Auto. But the company can't seem to turn a profit in years where it doesn't release a major GTA installment.

In a new L.A. Times report, Take-Two chair Strauss Zelnick said his company needs to grow into its expensive worldwide distribution and publishing network -- a network whose immense size is dictated primarily by the need to distribute GTA games in GTA years.

"We have a worldwide distribution and publishing footprint, and in a GTA year that cost basis is fine, but in a non-GTA year it's too high," Zelnick said. "We need to get bigger."

He added, "The barometer is when we are profitable in a non-GTA year. I think we can get there. I certainly aspire to it."

Take-Two did take steps in reducing its distribution costs last year when it sold off its Jack of All Games distribution business.

The publisher's upcoming release slate does include new IP that could help the company grow. Not only are there upcoming and recent installments of more established franchises such as BioShock, Civilization, Mafia and games from the 2K Sports label, but Take-Two is readying major new games L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption.

He admitted that Take-Two's developers could release games in a more timely manner, but he said that he won't resort to annual releases in the vein of Activision Blizzard's core publishing strategy.

"We can make quality video games and release them in a somewhat more orderly fashion than we have done historically," Zelnick said. "We'll stop short of a strictly annual schedule, however, because I think that is the enemy of pushing the envelope creatively."

There could be some changes coming to Take-Two soon. In January, Take-Two's board agreed to nominate for election three new board members at the request of billionaire and activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds an 11.3 percent stake in the company.


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