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 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 played on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo game consoles, but also on PCs and handheld devices. Its products are sold through outlets including retail chains, such as GameStop (20% of sales), Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Amazon, and as digital downloads. About 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, 1940s-era action-detective game L.A. Noire, and gritty action shooter Max Payne.
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.
About 83% of the company's revenue comes from console games. Games for PCs and other devices account for the remaining revenue.
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. With more than 14 studios around the world, The company does, however, maintain sales operations in Asia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand, along with a handful of European countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.
Sales and Marketing
Take-Two's top customers are GameStop, Microsoft, Sony, Steam, and Wal-Mart. Sales to its five largest customers accounted for 59% of its net revenue in fiscal 2016 (ended March), with Sony and Microsoft each accounting for more than 10% of revenue.
The company reduced it advertising spending to $94 million in 2016 (ended March), down from $153.7 million and $185.2 million 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Take-Two experiences volatility in its year-to-year revenues and income due to the uncertainty of the estimated popularity (sales) of its annual game releases. In fiscal 2015 Take-Two reported an increase of 30% in revenue driven by higher revenue from the console versions of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online, and the release of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online for PC in April 2015. Also contributing to the increase was higher revenue from Evolve.
The company reduced its 2015 loss of $280 million to a loss of just $8.3 million in 2016 (ended March). Take-Two reduced selling and marketing expenses partially offset by business reorganization expense. Selling and marketing expenses decreased due primarily to lower advertising expenses. But the company also increased costs for reorganization. It reorganize one development studio and closed two others.
Cash flow from operations increased to $261 million in 2016 from $213 million in 2015.
The company grows organically but is open to making acquisitions for its product delivery or future product 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), 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 is focused on games that it develops or publishes.
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.
Take-Two exited the third-party distribution business in 2010.