Crime might not pay in the real world, but in the gaming universe it means big money for Take-Two. 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 GameStop (20% of sales) and Wal-Mart (10%), and as digital downloads. More than half of its sales comes from the US.
Take-Two's Rockstar Games subsidiary is aptly named, having racked up sales, game-of-the-year awards, and controversy to back up the moniker. Focused on hardcore action games, its other titles alongside golden child GTA include open-world racing game Midnight Club, the Wild West-themed Red Dead series, its 2011-debuted 1940s-era action-detective game L.A. Noire, and gritty action shooter Max Payne, which received its third installment in 2012.
Although sister company 2K Games doesn't have as unruly a reputation, it still maintains the action focus of the group. While intense 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. 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, Deal or No Deal, and its most successful release to date, Carnival Games.
Like most western game companies, Take-Two's success in Asia/Pacific has, historically, been limited, with the region bringing in less than 10% of sales. The company does, however, maintain sales operations in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, along with a handful of European countries.
After successfully recovering from a global recession-induced drop in sales of nearly 40% in 2009, it suffered its lowest top-line result in the past decade and a net loss for fiscal 2012 (ended March). Although blame was placed on lower sales of titles long-into their releases (some as far back as 2010), the delayed launch of the new blockbuster Max Payne title, forcing its sales into the next fiscal year, didn't help. Take-Two's top five customers combined represent nearly 45% of sales.
Take-Two parts company with most of its major competitors in strategy around the inexorable growth of mobile and casual games. While others scramble to make mobile and casual a major pillar in their future plans, Take-Two remains focused on consoles and hard-core gamers. The company's games are dominated by cutting-edge home consoles -- Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 comprise a hefty 80% of sales, with PC titles being the third-largest contributor at around 10%. Take-Two hasn't, however, ignored the newly-burgeoning space altogether. It releases titles such as Max Payne Mobile for Apple and Android devices, as well as for social networking sites such as Facebook. It also realizes that digital distribution represents a lucrative avenue for growth. That distribution, however, will be focused on games that it develops or publishes, as the company completely exited the third-party distribution business in 2010.
Although western video game companies have found it difficult to penetrate the Asian market, the blossoming of online gaming has begun to open up the region, especially in China and South Korea, and Take-Two wants a part. Its strategy in that market includes expanding the distribution of existing products, developing a presence in Japan, and pursuing online gaming opportunities.