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Game Publishers' Stocks Down on Xbox Delay Rumors

Shares of EA and other game publishers took a hit yesterday following reports of a delay in shipping beta versions of Xbox dev kits.
London's Financial Times initially reported the likelihood of a delay, which precipitated a flurry of rumors that the delay in getting beta XDKs to developers would affect Microsoft's ability to launch the Xbox on time this fall. Microsoft director of game sales and marketing John O'Rouke denied that any delay in supplying developers with beta XDKs would affect the launch of the hardware or software. "Our developer support and release process is also right on track," he said. Microsoft had promised to deliver final XDKs to developers by E3. Shares of Electronic Arts were down $4.69, or 8.8 percent, closing at $48.38. Infogrames was down 31 cents, or 5.8 percent, while 3DO fell 15 cents, or 8.8 percent. THQ, Activision, and Sega shares also fell. Take-Two Interactive fell $1, or 10 percent, although chief executive Kelly Sumner said that its fiscal 2001 operating results would not be affected by Xbox or the delivery of dev kits. "Take-Two's business model for the year ending October 31, 2001, does not include any Microsoft Xbox titles," said Sumner. Analysts also remained unconcerned.

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