Icons in the industry are taking another run at gaming glory these days, however — and the results are proving much better.
It is nothing short of a colossal failure on the part of the company that has historically been the leader in sports games. The company’s inability to put together a high quality (or even remotely competitive) product in the ample time budgeted to do so has given Take-Two de facto exclusivity in a lucrative field for the third consecutive year. And barring a miracle or some extraordinarily savvy maneuvering, it may have just ceded the category forever.
The decision is likely to disappoint fans who were hoping to see some competition in the NBA field once again, but is terrific news for 2K Sports, whose NBA2K 13 will once again have the court to itself.
But with a mere two months to go before the tip off of this year’s NBA season, we don’t know much more about the game. It was at E3, but no one was allowed to touch it, and it didn’t look great. Since then? Virtually nothing. What’s going on here?
And now Jay-Z is adding ‘video game producer’ to the list.
[In light of an NBA lockout, Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris calls Take-Two’s optimistic outlook for NBA 2K12 “baffling,” arguing that the publisher missed a “free pass to lower expectations in a way investors would understand.”]
There was plenty of bad news in Take-Two’s earnings call Monday.
The company missed expectations – and managed to do so on a day where investors were already in panic mode. Duke Nukem Forever, the company said, was profitable, but the overwhelmingly negative reviews put a ceiling on that title’s earnings potential. And because of that stumble from the flat-topped king of the one liner, the company was forced to cut its forecast.
But the bad news was almost overshadowed by Take-Two’s baffling decision to maintain a downright optimistic outlook for this year’s NBA 2Ktitle, despite the dark clouds hovering over the real-world NBA.
Beyond what players, coaches and team owners are going through (and, of course, fans of live games), the television industry is scrambling to find ways to fill the possible holes in their schedule. Meanwhile, video game companies are trying to determine the ramifications for some of their biggest franchises, while NBA.com webmasters have had a busy few days. Let’s break it down by industry.
[Speaking with Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris about the road ahead for his company, CEO Strauss Zelnick explains why he’s in no hurry to sell Take Two, and why the publisher isn’t taking part in the social game land grab.]
The turnaround story at Take-Two Interactive Software has been an impressive one over the past couple of years. The company, which had previously never posted a profit unless it had released a Grand Theft Auto title in its lineup that year, has managed to push into the black without the help of its biggest franchise and had several of the most anticipated games of 2011 and 2012 on display at its E3 booth this year.
But the success has once again kicked up chatter that the company might be in play. Analysts have speculated it is an acquisition target and, with activist investor Carl Icahn holding a big stake in the company, have begun openly wondering who will make the first bid.
The leader in video game sports has quietly announced plans to bypass this season and release its next installment of NBA Elite (formerly called NBA Live) in the fall of 2012. That will create a three-year gap between releases, a significant fall for what used to be the leading basketball sports simulation.