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Rockstar Head Talks EA Partnering, Spiritual Healing

Following Electronic Arts' multiple attempts to acquire Take-Two Interactive and subsidiary Rockstar Games, Rockstar founder Sam Houser has admitted that he sees potential in a pairing with EA.

One of the chief minds behind Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series, Houser told The Wall Street Journal that he views EA CEO John Riccitiello as "the real deal" and has no problems being a "much smaller fish in much bigger pond." In fact, Houser claims that EA turned him down for a position towards the latter half of the 1990s. Read more »

"So I'm curious, why is it assumed that EA is fucking up WAR and not Mythic? Because from what I ..."
- qsylvr    See all 40 comments

EA Amends, Extends Take-Two Buyout Offer

Following publisher Take-Two Interactive Software's recommendation that its stockholders deny a hostile takeover attempt by rival publisher Electronic Arts, EA has submitted a slightly amended offer to the company's shareholders.

Take-Two Interactive is the owner of numerous popular properties, such as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and BioShock, and development studios, including the various branches of Rockstar, 2K Boston, 2K Marin, 2K Czech, and 2K Australia. Read more »

"they can sell the stock for whatever price they want. it's normally stupid since you could be ..."
- carnivore    See all 6 comments

Take-Two Talks BioShock, Civ MMO Potential

Speaking at the 2008 Smid Cap Conference, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick mentioned massively multiplayer online editions of BioShock and Civilization as examples of the company's "potential untapped opportunities."

Following the release and strong sales performance of 2K Boston and 2K Australia's story-driven underwater shooter BioShock (PC, X360) last summer, Zelnick noted Take-Two's intent to transform BioShock into an ongoing franchise. Read more »

"Well there was one good game that we got outta it, *shrug* that's how it usually goes anyway. ..."
- SpaecKow    See all 31 comments

Take-Two Suggests Shareholders Reject EA Bid; Expresses Interest in Possible Business Deals

Responding to Electronic Arts' attempt at a hostile takeover, Take-Two Interactive's board of directors has advised its stockholders to reject EA's buyout offer of $26 per share.

In a statement released today, Take-Two--which owns such beloved properties as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and BioShock--labeled the offer as "inadequate in multiple respects and contrary to the best interests of Take-Two's stockholders." Read more »

"Not a EA hater, but I'm glad Take-Two is resisting. The market needs more independant game ..."
- cohort74    See all 8 comments

Take-Two Mum on Another Max Payne Game

Publisher Take-Two dodged questions about a possible sequel to the Max Payne franchise of action titles during a financial conference call held this afternoon.

"It's a little early to comment on any particular title but we have a lot of interesting things going on," a Take-Two representative said when asked about the potential of future Max Payne titles.

"What's the saying? We will sell no wine before its time." Read more »

"maybe monica belucci charged too much money and these games to movies flicks usually are short ..."
- sch44cker    See all 38 comments

BioShock 2 Officially Announced for Late 2009; Involvement of Creator Ken Levine Confirmed

Publisher Take-Two Interactive today officially confirmed that a sequel to 2K Boston and 2K Australia's underwater shooter BioShock will arrive during the company's fiscal fourth quarter in 2009.

Take-Two's fourth fiscal quarter runs from August through the end of October.

BioShock 2 is under development by the Novato, California-based studio 2K Marin. The new development house is rumored to consist of several former 2K Boston and 2K Australia employees. Read more »

"how about placing it in space? i'd love to see system shock 3"
- Flinz    See all 137 comments

Take-Two Dates Borderlands, Mafia 2 for FY 2009; Midnight Club: Los Angeles This Fall

Take-Two Interactive today clarified a number of release dates for its upcoming titles.

The publisher revealed that Gearbox Software's Borderlands (PC, PS3, X360) and 2K Czech's Mafia II (PC, PS3, X360) are positioned for release sometime in Take-Two's 2009 fiscal year, which runs from November 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009. Read more »

"Don't really care about Borderlands (I'm in wait-and-see mode on that hype), but I hoped Mafia 2 ..."
- Damodred    See all 5 comments

Take-Two Enacts Severance Plan for Employees Axed in Possible Buyouts

Rockstar and 2K Games parent company Take-Two Interactive is enacting a severance plan for employees fired in the event of a corporate buyout, reports Reuters.

The severance plan will give executives up to 1.5 times their salary with bonus for up to 18 months if they are fired within a year of a change in corporate ownership and control. Non-executive employees will receive up to six months in salary. Read more »

"6 Months isn't bad at all for a severance package (especially when compared to other severance ..."
- gte879p    See all 15 comments

EA Proposes Take-Two Acquisition, Bids $2 Billion (Updated)

Update: Take-Two's board of directors has rejected Electronic Arts' proposal.

"After careful evaluation, the Board has determined that EA's proposal substantially undervalues Take-Two's robust and enviable stable of game franchises, exceptional creative talent and strong consumer loyalty," said the company. "We believe EA's unsolicited offer is highly opportunistic and is attempting to take advantage of our upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto IV, one of the most valuable and durable franchises in the industry." Read more »

"Still boycotting EA, they've just done so much ungood things to games as a culture. Its like ..."
- Lukiopimp    See all 152 comments

Rumor: Viacom Makes Take-Two Buyout Offer

Publisher Take-Two Interactive Software may be the target of a $1.5 billion buyout offer from entertainment conglomerate Viacom, according to "industry rumors" reported by MCV.

If true, the move would mark the latest in the recent rash of video game buyouts and mergers, the most notable of which was Activision Blizzard, the unexpected $18.9 billion combination of major publisher Activision with Blizzard Entertainment owner Vivendi Games. Read more »

"That Civilization Revolutions game doesn't deserve the Civilization name. Look at how simple ..."
- leaked    See all 4 comments

Take-Two Interactive Acquires Illusion Softworks, Developer of Mafia 2 and Hidden & Dangerous

Take-Two Interactive Software, parent company of 2K Games and Rockstar Games, today announced that it has acquired Czech Republic based developer Illusion Softworks. The studio will join the 2K Games publishing label as 2K Czech.

Illusion Softworks is behind such games as Hidden & Dangerous, Mafia, and Vietcong, some of which were distributed by Take-Two's various publishing labels. The company is currently working on Mafia 2 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Read more »

"Illusion Softworks had a great concept with Hidden and Dangerous, the game was well done. Even ..."
- Lukiopimp    See all 4 comments

Take-Two Appeals UK Ban on Manhunt 2 (Updated)

Exactly six weeks after Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 (PS2, Wii, PSP) was refused British Board of Film Classification rating and thus blocked from sale in the UK, parent company Take-Two Interactive has appealed the board's decision. The company filed the appeal with the Video Game Appeals Committee yesterday, the deadline to take such action. The VAC will appoint an appeal date and a panel to judge the appeal. If the appeal is upheld, the game will be given a rating and permitted to be sold on store shelves. "Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly," said BBFC director David Cooke when the board's decision was announced. "To issue a certificate to Manhunt 2, on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors." News of the appeal was first reported by UK publication MCV. Update: Take-Two released the following statement to Shacknews: "Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. confirmed today that Rockstar Games has appealed the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decision that prohibited the release of any version of Manhunt 2 in Britain."

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"interesting. hope they win, even though i will never ever play that game."
- 00-bracken    See all 10 comments

Late Night Consoling

  • PlayStation games come to PS3 (for PSP)

    [ps3] [psp]
    Owners of PlayStation 3 and PSP can now use their portable systems to play classic PlayStation games purchased through the PlayStation Store. Currently, the games can only be downloaded through PS3, and can only be played after being transferred via USB to a Memory Stick-equipped PSP, but Sony has promised to bring PS3-compatible versions of games to the store. The company has also indicated that at some point it will provide alternative means of purchasing the PSP versions of the games, through PSP itself or through a PC. Currently, the five following games are available, each for a purchase price of $5.99: - CoolBoarders (UEP Systems, Sony Computer Entertainment America) (283MB) - Crash Bandicoot (Naughty Dog Software, Sony Computer Entertainment America) (469MB) - Hot Shots Golf 2 (Clap Hanz, Sony Computer Entertainment America) (157MB) - Syphon Filter (Eidetic, Sony Computer Entertainment America) (385MB) - Tekken 2 (Namco, Namco Bandai Games America) The description of each game includes a disclaimer that "this title has been converted from the original PlayStation disc to the PSP (PlayStation Portable) system" and that as a result, features such as original PlayStation peripheral support and multiplayer modes will not function.
  • 2K signs in-game ad deals

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [wii] [ds] [psp] [gba]
    Publisher Take-Two Interactive Software has announced an agreement with dynamic in-game advertising firm Double Fusion to provide in-game ads in up to nine games from Take-Two's 2K and 2K Sports labels. Today's announcement did not include details of what games or franchises would make use of Double Fusion's ads, though it did clarify that Double Fusion would not act as the exclusive ad provider for 2K's games on the Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms. The deal gives Double Fusion in-game ad exclusivity for the relevant 2K games on all other platforms, including last- and current-gen home consoles, portables, and PC.
  • RoboBlitz rolls to Xbox Live Arcade

    This week's Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday release was announced by Microsoft today to be Naked Sky Entertainment's single-player puzzle/action game RoboBlitz. RoboBlitz has gained some notoriety for being the first Xbox Live Arcade game to be built on Epic's Unreal Engine 3, as well as for making use of procedurally generated textures which allowed the formerly 500MB+ game to become a sub-50MB game suitable for release through Xbox Live Arcade. The game runs RoboBlitz is also available through Valve's Steam service for $14.95, and a demo is available on FileShack.
  • Halo 3 beta registration open

    As announced last week, today Microsoft opened initial registration for the upcoming Halo 3 multiplayer beta test on Xbox 360. Gamers can sign up over at the official Halo 3 site. Only those residing in the United States or Canada, of a minimum age of 17 years, will be considered. Participants must own an Xbox 360 and have an active Xbox Live Gold subscription. Microsoft has indicated that registration details for European gamers are to follow. In a note to press today, Microsoft stated that that registration "is not limited to a first-come-first-served basis" and that the company will be providing "additional ways to gain access in the coming weeks." The test is scheduled to start this spring. The new CG trailer for Halo 3 is also now freely downloadable via Xbox Live Marketplace.
  • Sony's Foster: Wii is "a more fun, intuitive sort of product"

    [ps3] [wii]
    In an attempt to downplay potentially negative effects the PlayStation brand may see in Australia thanks to the machine's high price and its release delay in that region, Sony Australia & New Zealand general manager Nic Foster inadvertently praised the machine's competition. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Foster suggested that consumers will be able to identify the PS3's many entertainment functions. "Gamers are extremely aware of what they're after and what they want," he said. "So gamers will already have a very good understanding of what PlayStation 3 offers versus what Wii offers and many of them will probably have both devices." When it came to outlining what distinguishes the PS3 and Nintendo's Wii, however, Foster was surprisingly charitable to his company's opponent. "Wii is a core gaming device. It's a more fun, intuitive sort of product to pick up," he said, "where the PS3 is a broader entertainment solution." Foster went on to point out the PS3's various multimedia functions such as Blu-ray movie playback, and access to photos and music. PlayStation 3 will launch in Australia in March 2007 at a retail price of AU$829 (US$654.58) for the 20GB model and AU$999 (US$788.81) for the 60GB model.
  • Burger King does more game deals

    [ps2] [xbox] [xbox360]
    Burger King and Microsoft recently launched a marketing campaign that saw the release of three Blitz Games-developed Xbox and Xbox 360 games sold in Burger King Restaurants. Today, the fast good giant was revealed to be involved in a marketing effort with another major video game publisher as Konami announced a tie-in program promoting the company's well known Dance Dance Revolution series of rhythm games. From December 4 to December 31, participating restaurants will include Dance Dance Revolution toys in Kids Meals, and Burger King will include DDR-themed marketing in its food packaging and television commercials. The campaign is in support of the recently released Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA (PS2) and Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4 (Xbox) as well as the upcoming Dance Dance Revolution Universe (X360).

Misc. Media/Previews

GameSpot goes hands on with Level 5's Rogue Galaxy (PS2).
GameSpot checks out Konami's Elebits (Wii) (first online-enabled Wii game?) (so do IGN, GameSpy, and 1UP). IGN checks out Hudson's Kororinpa (Wii) and Bandai's SD Gundam G Breaker (aka SD Gundam SCAD Hammers) (Wii). Movies: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii). Elebits (Wii) (trailer 1, trailer 2). Super Swing Golf (Wii). Wario Ware: Smooth Moves (Wii).
GameSpot checks out Ubisoft Shanghai and Gearbox's Brothers in Arms D-Day (PSP). IGN has a first look at EA's Theme Park DS (NDS). Movies: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All (NDS).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Wario Land 2 for the Game Boy Color. "A strange departure from the first Wario Land. Wario is invincible, so the game endeavors to defeat you by making you so frustrated that you want to chuck your Game Boy out the window. Despite that, I really enjoyed it." (submitted by NERodgers)

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"Buying a product from the best company in the world ? It's totally worth it , in fact Sony could ..."
- hippolove    See all 38 comments

2K Games And Valve Steam Up

Looks like the digital distribution world is getting even a little more interesting. Not very long ago we saw Triton shut down and 3DR/2K announce they were shipping retail boxes to all Prey customers. Chris even got sassy and wrote an article about recent digital distribution fun. Well it didnt take long for 2K to hop aboard another digital train. Choo choo! 2K Games and Valve Software will now be working together:

October 24, 2006 -- 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), and Valve today announced an agreement to bring a collection of 2K PC games to Steam®. "With titles from legendary designer Sid Meier and 2K's world renowned developer, Firaxis Games, 2K is one of today's foremost publishers," said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. "Through this initial agreement with 2K, Steam's game library expands to include four great strategy games. We look forward to delivering more from 2K in the future." PC versions of Sid Meier's Civilization IV, Sid Meier's Civilization III, Shattered Union and Sid Meier's Pirates! will be available later this week via Steam. Details regarding future 2K titles available via Steam will be announced at a later date. [more]

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"i started playing pirates again recently, its quite addicting."
- nandu666    See all 71 comments

Take-Two Under Investigation by SEC

Publisher Take-Two is taking some heat again, though this time it is entirely unrelated to the Hot Coffee issue that has been a thorn in the side of subsidiary Rockstar Games for so long. Today Take-Two issued a brief statement indicating that it is under "informal investigation" by the Securities and Exchange Commission, though it did not disclose the reason for the investigation.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. ...has received notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is conducting an informal non-public investigation into certain stock option grants made by the Company from January 1997 to the present. Prior to receiving the notice, the Company had initiated an internal review of the Company's option grants, led by a committee consisting of independent board members who have retained independent legal counsel and accountants to assist in the review. The Company intends to respond to the SEC's information request and to fully cooperate in the informal investigation.
Most likely, the investigation is regarding potential manipulation of prices and issue dates of stock options given to executives, which would have artificially inflated the value of those options. Tech news organization CNET Networks, owner of gaming press site GameSpot, is facing similar investigation. This is not the first time Take-Two has had a run in with the SEC. Last year, the publisher was fined $7.5M by the SEC following a four year investigation into alleged fraudulent accounting practices. At time of writing Take-Two stock is down 7.52% from its previous close, to $9.34. Though Take-Two and Rockstar have had one of the best selling games of recent memory in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2, Xbox, PC), the past year has been undeniably rocky for the closely related companies. GameDaily claims to have obtained a list of key employees which have reportedly left the company in the last 12 months, though it is unclear whether those alleged departures will hurt the company or will work towards necessary cost-cutting.

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"Well to be fair, besides this issue having nothing to do with hot coffee, Take Two and Rockstar ..."
- SolrFlare    See all 12 comments

Top Games

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Resistance 3
  3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  4. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  5. DayZ
  6. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  7. Hearts of Iron IV
  8. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  9. Frozen Synapse
  10. Trials Fusion

Most Anticipated

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  3. DayZ
  4. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  5. Hearts of Iron IV
  6. Batman: Arkham Knight
  7. Survarium
  8. Kerbal Space Program
  9. The Walking Dead: Season Two
  10. Frozen Endzone

Top Rentals

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Beyond: Two Souls
  3. Batman: Arkham Origins
  4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  5. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. NBA 2K14
  8. Diablo III
  9. Madden NFL 25
  10. The Last of Us