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Take Two Interactive Inc. E3 2010 Performance Recap

By Perry Rod, Published: June 21st, 2010 9:59 AM CDT

It was nice to finally see Take Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) on the show floor of E3.  As you walked in, the first thing you saw at the entrance of their booth were lifesize characters from Take Two’s franchise, Bioshock.  The suggestion here is that the franchise is as alive as ever and developers are already hard at work on a sequel, despite what management recently described as a surprising drop in sales of Bioshock 2.  They had also mentioned that the title was profitable, which is probably why it makes financial sense to deliver another sequel.

There was a significant push of Mafia 2 throughout the show floor but the lack of Rockstar titles made you forget what Take Two is really all about.  Here is a review of the 2K titles shown at E3:

Mafia 2 – It has become harder to be excited about a third person open world game after Rockstar’s recent brilliant title, Red Dead Redemption.  E3 surprisingly offered very few of these types of titles, so Mafia 2 immediately stood out.  The budget on this game was likely reasonably lower than other similar titles since it was developed in Eastern Europe.  However, having no multiplayer forces the game to be amazing in order to generate massive sales and high ratings. It looks damn good, but may or may not be amazing.  The game’s cut scenes are among the best I've seen and the music for the game sounds fantastic.  Another positive aspect is the demo appeared to be challenging, unlike many recent games.  In the category of third person open world titles, it was the best title at E3.  But it had almost no competition, and if you add Take Two’s own Rockstar titles into the mix, it would probably be outgunned.  I would expect this title to rate in the high 80s due to the difficult Rockstar comparison and as a result, sell around 2-3 million worldwide.

Spec Ops: The Line - They presented a long demonstration of this game and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was and how deep in development they were. For those of you familiar with Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, the game rips off from those ideas. It's a deep story driven military shooter. They're using the rich story to try and set it apart from all the other shooters (and there were a ton of shooters at E3). I think in this case, it might succeed because the story is very compelling and a lot of decision based action for the game player is going on. Visuals were strong and there were unique sand effects. Apparently a demo is coming out soon in July so this looks like it will make it either late this year or early in 2011. They sounded like they're focusing a lot on multiplayer as well. It's hard to judge how this will perform but I get a feeling that the single player might actually be good enough to rate the title in the 90's, which would be a surprise. I would have previously assumed this game was a mistake given the tough competition and relatively weak brand name, but after seeing what they're doing, I walked away feeling that this was a gamble worth taking for Take Two.

XCOM - this title had Bioshock written all over it. But it was not a tacky copy like Activision’s Singularity was. It could possibly hold its own. The best thing about it was that the main enemy can obliterate the towns, so the world feels very destructible. Something about it reminded me of Destroy All Humans. It was very mysterious but with a bright colorful style. It was just so different that I don't really know what to make of it.  Multiplayer is not confirmed but I would bet there will be a multiplayer aspect. Similar to Bioshock, however, most people do not get a game like this for multiplayer. I think the novelty of it backed by "From the makers of Bioshock,” will promote this title enough to at least breakeven for the company. I think ratings on this will likely be mid to high 80's and it will be a modest seller.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V – This was one of the biggest highlights at all of E3.  In a sea of shooters and kid’s titles, Civilization shines as something incredibly unique and different.  The new PC game looked fabulous and had many people excited. You can tell the developers are building a 95 type near perfect product.  Look for this title to break out to the upside later this year due to pent up demand for a high quality strategy game.

Overall, Take Two continues to focus on games that rate well and have a chance at breakout success.  The only sure thing of the group was Civilization V, which is sure to generate tremendous interest from the gaming community.  Even without Rockstar, however, Take Two managed to generate some interest in their product offerings.

Take Two Overall 2010 E3 Grade:  B

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