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.
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.
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.
Sales and Marketing
The company spent $153.7 million, $185.2 million, and $122.9 million on advertising expenses in fiscal years 2014, 2013, and 2012, 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 2014 Take-Two reported an increase of 94% in revenues, driven by increase of $1,481.5 million sales from its Grand Theft Auto franchise (related to the releases of Grand Theft Auto V); higher sales of $139.5 million (driven by the WWE 2K14 together with higher sales of its NBA 2K franchise); partially offset by a $446 million decrease in net sales due to prior year releases of Borderlands 2, Max Payne 3, BioShock Infinite, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Spec Ops: The Line.
In fiscal 2014 Take-Two reported a 1,325% increase in net income driven by higher sales and lower selling and marketing expenses, partially offset by an increase in research and development and general and administrative expenses.
Cash flow in operating activities has been following Take-Two's net income trend reporting $700.3 million during fiscal 2014 compared to $704.8 million during 2013 which was a result cash generated from the release of Grand Theft Auto V and the collection of accounts receivable balances primarily attributable to the release of Bioshock Infinite near the end of the previous fiscal year. This was partially offset by cash used in financing and investing activities.
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.
While in 2013, its 2K unit and WWE entered an agreement granting 2K the exclusive worldwide rights to publish the WWE video game franchise across all major platforms and distribution channels. It launched WWE 2K15 in 2014.
Take-Two exited the third-party distribution business in 2010.