Activision May Be Eyeing Grand Theft Auto Producers

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, speaking yesterday at the company's Analyst Day event, said he couldn't answer a question from an analyst about attempting to hire Sam and Dan Houser, the producers of the Grand Theft Auto series for rival publisher Take-Two.

Kotick did, however, say this: "We really embrace the individual studio model. We know how to take studios and talented teams and appropriately incentivize them. We’ve definitely become the destination location for independently minded entrepreneurial talent," which Silicon Alley Insider translates from PR-speak to an implicit acknowledgement that Activision may try to hire the duo.

The very "independently minded" Houser brothers have together served as producers for the Grand Theft Auto series since Grand Theft Auto 3, seeing it rise into a franchise worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Their contract expires in February 2009, which may send them running to the highest bidder.

While any potential moves on the brothers' part are officially speculation as of now, even a PR-sanitized quote from Kotick serves as the first public acknowledgement from a rival publisher that the two may leave the publisher they helped to build into a major player.