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Take-Two: 'We Don't Want To Be Mistaken Twice'

In a call to investors explaining the just announced Grand Theft Auto IV delay, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick stressed that a 6 month delay was sufficient and necessary,
In a call to investors explaining the just announced Grand Theft Auto IV delay, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick stressed that a 6 month delay was sufficient and necessary, saying "having been mistaken once, we certainly don't want to be mistaken twice." The call reiterated much of what Take-Two had expressed in its initial statement, which -- with GTA IV's delay and the beleaguered Manhunt 2 off its release schedule entirely pending ratings reviews -- calls for Q3 sales of $195 million to $205 million, Q4 sales of $275 million to $300 million, and full year sales of $950 million to $1.0 billion. Executives Strauss Zelnick and Ben Feder again expressed their disappointment in the decision to delay, which was made yesterday after spending time with the most recent build of the title. "As many of you know the development of a video game is a complex and time intensive process," said Zelnick, adding that "given our commitment to set new standard for 2 relatively new hardware platforms simultaneously," an October release, given the most recent build, "wasn't an acceptable path." Zenick reiterated that Take-Two's relationship with Rockstar was "rock solid," and said that the decision was made with the developer working "very closely" with a high amount of cooperation, and that it "wasn't something that either took lightly." He said that there would be no penalty to Rockstar, "nor should there be one. We all work together as a team, and we support our colleagues at Rockstar." Take-Two was reticent to discuss any details of its talks with Microsoft or Sony, especially in light of the former's previously reported $50 million exclusive content deal, the first payment of which was expected to be made to Take-Two in March of 2008, which, at this point, could be before the release of the game entirely. The executives would only add on the matter that "we're not going to send money back to Microsoft. That's not part of the deal." Nor would the company comment on whether the problems Rockstar faced were particular to one platform, asked specifically if the studio was struggling with the PlayStation 3 version of the game. After a pause, Zelnick would only say that "the technology that we're developing for GTA IV is pretty complex. It's a big game, with technological challenges across the board on both PS3 and 360." "Our intention is to create a game that is the same experience on 360 and PS3. I know there have been rumors about framerate and some other issues. We don't think it's helpful or beneficial to go into exact details," but added that Rockstar was "pushing the envelope on both platforms," and that "consumers will ultimately benefit." "The reason it is being delayed," said Zelnick, "is almost strictly technological problems... Not problems, but challenges."

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