Crime might not pay in the real world, but in the gaming universe it means big money for Take-Two Interactive Software. The company's popular mature-rated Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series and other games are developed by subsidiary Rockstar Games. Its 2K Games subsidiary publishes franchises such as BioShock, Borderlands, and Sid Meier's Civilization; the 2K Sports unit carries titles such as Major League Baseball 2K and NBA 2K. Take-Two's games are largely played on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo game consoles, but also PCs and handheld devices. Its products are sold through outlets including retail chains, such as Best Buy and Toys "R" Us, and as PC and console downloads. More than half of its sales comes from the US.
Retailers are Take-Two's largest direct customers, with GameStop and Wal-Mart accounting for about 20% and 10% of sales resepctively in 2011. The company sold the remainder of its distribution business in 2010 to focus on development and publishing. Within that pipeline, the company has also explored product strategies such as downloadable content and in-game advertising.
Rockstar Games is Take-Two's superstar game developer. Focused on action games, its other titles alongside golden child GTA include open-world racing game Midnight Club, the Wild West-themed Red Dead, and its 2011-released, 1940s-era action-detective game L.A. Noire. Take-Two is banking on Rockstar Games to continue its success with its new Agent title, an espionage game set in the 1970s, in development since 2007, and the third Max Payne installment due in early 2012.
Rockstar Games doesn't have a monopoly on hardcore action games Take-Two. Besides 2K Games other action games, it published a long-awaited (first announced in 1997) follow up in the Duke Nukem video game series in 2011 with Duke Nukem Forever, which was developed by a third-party studio. While intense, action titles geared toward adults and seasoned gamers have been Take-Two's bread and butter, it hedges its bets by also pursuing projects that appeal to children and casual gamers. The company's expanded repertoire through 2K Games includes titles for action, adventure, racing, role-playing, sports, and strategy genres. As part of that push Take-Two established the 2K Play label for its casual gaming and family-oriented efforts, offering titles such as Dora the Explorer; Go, Diego, Go!; and Deal or No Deal, with Carnival Games its most successful release to date.
The platforms for Take-Two's games are dominated by cutting-edge games consoles, specifically Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, comprising 80% of sales for fiscal 2011. Besides dedicated gaming devices and PCs, Take-Two has also begun developing titles for the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as for social networking sites such as Facebook.
Take-Two is looking to the Asia/Pacific markets for future growth, with its strategy in that region including expanding the distribution of its existing products, developing a presence in Japan, and establishing an online gaming presence in China and South Korea. The company also has its eyes on expanding in the Eastern European and Latin American markets.
CEO Ben Feder stepped down in January 2011 in order to travel in Asia with his family. Feder was replaced by Strauss Zelnick, chairman of Take-Two.