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Strauss Zelnick: No Regrets, No Responsibility, Take Two

By Perry Rod, Published: December 4th, 2009 12:06 AM CST

Take Two Interactive's [NASDAQ:TTWO] Strauss Zelnick has done it again.  In July, I profiled Mr. Zelnick, a man who brags about having no regrets and taking no responsibility for his many failures at Take Two.

Today, despite being "proud" of sales of titles such as Borderlands and Take Two's NBA title, Mr. Zelnick specifically pointed out that he was taking "responsibility" for the devastating guidance provided by the company which now points to a second consecutive year of losses.

Mr. Zelnick blamed the company's poor performance largely on the company's Major League Baseball series of titles.

Wait, what?  Excuse me?  What was that?

MLB 2K9 was released in March of 2009; Bigs 2 was released in July 2009.  Those are shipments in the two previous quarters.

So Mr. Zelnick is saying that Take Two expected sales of MLB titles to suddenly explode higher in Take Two's October quarter and beyond, which even he cannot really believe.

Nice try, Mr. Zelnick.

The real untold story here is that instead of developing a new core Grand Theft Auto title, the leadership of Take Two and its subsidiary Rockstar, focused their development teams on high quality downloadable "episodes" for Grand Theft Auto, exclusive to only the Microsoft console, offered at $20 each.  That price point has never before been a success for any downloadable video game title.  Yet, Take Two went on that escapade anyway - twice this year.  And this holiday after the first one lacked popularity, they quickly jumbled together the two developed episodes into one physical package for only $40.  The problem?  It just didn't sell.  Few were interested in a low hyped discount non-core Grand Theft Auto offering.  This year, Take Two also spent resources developing a high quality Grand Theft Auto title on the Nintendo DS, again going out of their way to go where nobody had gone before.  That flopped too.

Instead of owning up to their recent grand theft risk taking failure, for fear that investors will lose faith in the GTA brand name, Take Two management is blaming its problems on Major League Baseball - a struggling video game franchise with low expectations all around and with revenues that were booked in previous quarters.

Mr. Zelnick does not acknowledge or take blame for making these risky decisions that have led to massive failure and debt for Take Two Interactive.  Surprised?  By now, you shouldn't be.

Related: TTWO

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