Gamindustry, April 2014— Following last night's Take-Two earnings call for Fiscal 2013, it was revealed that the blockbuster title GTAV fell far short of expectations. "We had a conservative forecast
of 18 million unit sales through the calendar year", said financial services company The Cowen Group. "However, the game only sold 16.5 million copies, an unacceptable result for any self-respecting shareholder. Because of this, we are downgrading the company stock from "hold" to "dump".
The underperformance of the much-anticipated title shook an already struggling industry, and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick announced his resignation effective immediately. "I am proud of everything Take-Two achieved in the last decade. However, it comes down to accountability. While pre-orders of the game were very, very, very, very, very, very good, final results were merely very, very, very, very good", said the former CEO.
A top executive at rival Electronic Arts, who would only speak on condition of anonymity, predicted tough times ahead for Zelnick. "Personally, Zelnick is a great guy, but nobody will hire someone who can't even sell 17 million copies of GTAV. He will be forced to apply for unemployment insurance. It's a shame, really. It would break my heart, if I had one."
Several analysts weighed in on what the future holds for Take-Two. "Nintendo is doomed", said famed Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. "Oh, you meant Take-Two"? They should focus on mobile and F2P. The writing is on the wall. If you put together the number of sales of every single Call of Duty ever, it's still a fraction of the number of Angry Birds downloads. It's obvious where the real money is. And Iwata sucks."
While the company is reportedly considering such a move, sources inside Take-Two indicate that the board is divided, with some advocating that the problem is not the business model, it's the execution, a position supported by many high-level managers. "All we need to do to make our next blockbuster the success it deserves is to triple the development budget and quadruple the marketing budget", says a high-ranking manager. "If we throw that much money on a product, what could possibly go wrong?"