Take-Two expects “cost reduction program” as string of games flop

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Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two has confirmed a “cost reduction program” to cut $50m of annual spending after a string of high-profile launches failed to find an audience.

Speaking to investors, Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick said recent releases such as the excellent but overlooked Marvel’s Midnight Suns, plus PGA Tour 2K23 and New Tales of the Borderlands, had all been received well but sold poorly.

“We’re seeing softness in the overall market,” Zelnick subsequently told GamesIndustry.biz. “Our titles are performing, we’ve gotten great review scores, we’ve gotten terrific critical acclaim. And one after another, we’ve been delivering hits into the current market.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns continues to be supported post-launch with DLC.

“However, we are seeing softness in terms of consumer demand, particularly for console products and recurrent consumer spending related to console products.”

Take-Two’s upcoming cost-cutting drive will impact “personnel, processes, infrastructure, and other areas, particularly in our publishing and corporate functions,” Zelnick continued. It comes on top of an already-announced $100m round of cost synergies expected from its recent acquistion of Zynga.

Will Take-Two be the next company to announce mass layoffs, akin to Microsoft and Google? For now, Zelnick seemed to suggest nothing quite of that scale.

“We don’t expect any kind of broad-based reduction in force,” Zelnick said of possible layoffs. “We are going department by department and trying to drive efficiency.”

It wasn’t all bad news for Take-Two. Other games in the publisher’s portfolio performed well – or continued to. These included the evergreen Grand Theft Auto 5 and GTA Online, as well as its NBA series.

Red Dead Redemption 2 also sold well, shifting another 4m copies to pass the enormous 50m lifetime sales milestone. Hey, how about some new DLC now?

Looking to the future, Take-Two has Judas – the next game from BioShock creator Ken Levine – on the horizon, as well as the recently-leaked Grand Theft Auto 6.

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