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Take-Two On PSN Outage, Duke's Expectations, The NBA Lockout

Following up on its fiscal 2011 results, executives from Take-Two Interactive provided additional color on subjects ranging from <em

Frank Cifaldi, Contributor

May 24, 2011

3 Min Read

Following up on its fiscal 2011 results, executives from Take-Two Interactive provided additional color on subjects ranging from Duke Nukem's expectations to the potential NBA lockout. In a Gamasutra-attended conference call Tuesday, CEO Strauss Zelnick, CFO Lainie Goldstein and COO Karl Slatoff fielded questions from financial analysts. Previous stories highlighted the company's push for new IP and the first week success of L.A. Noire, also discussed during this Q&A session; the rest of our highlights follow. Duke's Expectations When asked how Duke Nukem's economics compared to the company's other titles -- in other words, in trying to gauge how many copies the game would have to sell to break even -- CFO Lainie Goldstein said the game's cost was roughly in line with the company's triple-A titles. "The economics of that title are in line with the average of our publishing titles," she said. "It does have a significant marketing budget behind it...I would say it's in the medium range, but it certainly has been in development for a long period of time. So it falls right in line with the best of our titles." The PSN Outage According to Zelnick, the PSN outage did not have a negative effect on Take-Two's fiscal results, as it was back up in time for L.A. Noire. "They were back up and running before we launched L.A. Noire," he said. "Obviously it's never a good thing, but we didn't see that it had any negative influence on us." The NBA Lockout Interestingly, Take-Two's guidance for fiscal 2012 does not take into account the potential of an NBA league lockout: while EA's projections assume that the lockout will happen, Take-Two's ignore that possibility. "I think it's fair to say that a lockout wouldn't be a good thing. But it's hard to know what will happen," said Zelnick. "Whatever effects of the lockout are not [in the guidance], because we don't know what those would be, we can't really quantify them," he said. BioShock Infinite When asked about the strength of the BioShock franchise, in terms of its public perception following BioShock 2 and leading into Irrational's BioShock InfiniteTake-Two said it was in "incredibly terrific shape." "When you're selling over 8 million units in a franchise it's a fantastic thing," said COO Karl Slatoff. "It is fantastic having [series creator] Ken [Levine] re-engaged," he added. "Ken is obviously doing something very different with the franchise that hasn't been done before, and that's a good thing. It's a highly, highly creative endeavor, and we're thrilled to be in business with Ken and having him at the helm again at BioShock." Expanding To Asia Take-Two is now working with three partners -- Tencent, Nexon, and XL Games -- to create massively-multiplayer games for the Asian market, though the games seem a ways off, as no projections based on this business expansion were made in the company's fiscal year guidance. "We don't have any information to share at this point in terms of development progress and when we plan to release or go to beta on these titles," said Slatoff. "All of those titles are in development, and things are going very very well, and we're thrilled with our partners and how things are going." While the company has "contemplated" releasing these games outside of the Asian markets, thus far they are all -- including an NBA title with Nexon -- focused on Asia for the time being. "There's no question that there's plenty of opportunity [outside of Asia]," said Zelnick. "The reason we started in Asia is that these are robust markets where lots of products do well as massive-multiplayer products. For example, in Japan, the massively-multiplayer business is a very significant business, bigger than packaged goods. So we think it's a smart way to enter the market, and it's too early to say exactly what the opportunities are. But you can be certain that our eyes are open to them."

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About the Author(s)

Frank Cifaldi


Frank Cifaldi is a freelance writer and contributing news editor at Gamasutra. His past credentials include being senior editor at 1UP.com, editorial director and community manager for Turner Broadcasting's GameTap games-on-demand service, and a contributing author to publications that include Edge, Wired, Nintendo Official Magazine UK and GamesIndustry.biz, among others. He can be reached at [email protected].

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