Activision News Incoming, More Take-Two Problems

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, October 28, 2010

Activision-Blizzard's Third Quarter Investor conference call will be taking place next week (Nov 4.) I'm excited.

Sure, it sounds boring to you - but these are the calls where they review the company's current situation (I look forwards to the raw data to get a better insight into the company) and discuss future strategic plans or growth for the following quarter that will generate even more profit for their investors. Sometimes the results of these calls won't be made public for a few weeks following, but some information will typically leak out.

BlizzCon is reserved for all of the big Blizzard announcements, but this upcoming investor meeting might describe a plan for some future Activision/Blizzard interaction. There's a strong possibility, for example, that Activision may announce full integration of their own software line (complete with digital downloads, social interaction, match-making, etc.) on Blizzard's service.

Activision will give the typical speech to bolster customer and investor confidence (ie, Blizzcon was a big success, WOTLK launch in China was a big success, upcoming Cataclysm release will be a big success, blah blah blah) especially since they performed so poorly last quarter.

But I'm hoping that there will be a hint at more "console development", but not actually point their finger's in Blizzard's direction. Or maybe they will. =]

Back in August, I made a post about how Diablo 3 looked like it was designed (with purpose) for console platforms. It had the perfect GUI, interface, and gameplay. WOW & SC2 are no where near close, but D3 is ready for the transition. It would be fitting for Diablo to be back on consoles too.. third time's a charm, right?

The reason I'm mentioning this now, is because just recently Blizzard has been hinting at D3 development for consoles and the information is being picked up by various gaming news sites.

In other news, I was anticipating a Red Dead Redemption PC port announcement this November as their quarterly announcements were supposed to happen next month. There aren't any gaming conventions occurring during the next quarter, so most of their big announcements would have been taking place next month. I'm was really hoping for a RDR PC announcement too, but it will probably be about GTA 5 (a new GTA release wouldn't be the only reason for moving their Fiscal Year by the way - that would just be silly).

HOWEVER, they just MOVED their Fiscal Quarter! (Yes, this is legal with special approval.)

That's actually big news in itself. =]

There are only a few reasons why a company would be moving it's Fiscal Year-End. Sometimes it's done by companies who want to match their own Fiscal Year with that of their parent company, sometimes it's for minimizing taxes (meaning that they're hurting financially), sometimes it's due to the termination of a partnership (hmmm...), sometimes they do it because there are indications of (seasonally) low revenue, or sometimes it's if they will be giving up control of their corporation (EA has been interested in Take-Two for a while now).

Most likely though is that they have some MAJOR re-structuring planned for the next few months and their revenue isn't as high as they were expecting. There are two things that can happen: they need to reduce costs or they need to increase profits by pumping out more releases and at a faster pace. =]

On a related note (ie, "re-structuring" in the future), Rockstar Toronto has been hiring a lot more people recently. Game Programmers, Designers, and Support Staff.. and they all seem to be replacements due to attrition. Maybe the Rockstar remote sites know something we don't?

With this recent announcement though, it's safe to say that there's something big coming down the pipe. I'm predicting lay-offs, as it's always the easier way out and the path taken by most companies these days (ie, when they need to cut expenses to increase profit, rather than using money to make more money.)

Update (10/29/10):

Take-Two just made a new announcement, so yeah - there's definitely some major re-organization taking place. Their CEO is stepping down. =]

This is a good indication that they might be giving up control of the corporation (ie, being acquired by Electronic Arts), hence one of the reasons for moving their Fiscal Year. There are some other companies that were interested as well (including Activision), but EA is the front runner.

I still think there's more lay-offs on the way. Many people will say that Take-Two has been doing really well. Sure, they have been doing well but not "well enough" and investors want them to do better. Besides this upcoming reorganization, it will also give Take-Two more time to develop their various (ongoing) technologies and work on their big name games. Should be interesting.. I'm looking forwards to their next game announcements. It'll most likely be sequels though, and no new IPs. =[

Another Update:

Apparently this post caught the attention of many employees from Take Two and Rockstar. =]

The visitor log has been showing a lot of visits from the internal offices of Take Two. Apparently, they must not have a very strict policy for internet usage. =] There are multiple hits from a few external facing IP addresses: Take-Two Interactive Software (, Rockstar Games (, Rockstar Toronto (, Rockstargames Ltd (, etc.

(On a related note, I still get visited by Blizzard employees a lot too. They haven't been posting any new comments though since that last guy.)

So anyways, it appears that because of Take-Two's latest announcement there's a stock trader "feeding frenzy" going on and they're looking for as much information as possible. It's pretty funny watching all of the guess work going on.

Unfortunately, all of their visits were very specific as many were only looking at the one page and ignoring previous posts from months ago when I was mentioning Rockstar Toronto activities. I followed Rockstar Toronto specifically since I was primarily interested in the Red Dead Redemption PC port and they're the team most likely to produce it. Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Update (01/27/11):

I was right. =]

Now, management at Rockstar London and Lincoln have also been given their pink slips. These are just the big names though that were made public, but there have been many other exits as well within Take Two over the past few months.

There are also rumors of more impending layoffs at the Rockstar London facility.

It seems like just yesterday when Take Two was denying studio layoffs, and claimed that there were no impending layoffs, or an intention to lay off 20% of it's workforce in an attempt to "restructure and improve it's financial standing." Some of the rumors confirmed apparently.