Grand theft in progress?
August 17, 2005 8:00 PM   Subscribe

"What's most shocking about Grand Theft Auto isn't embedded sex scenes. It's the financial chicanery of the game's maker." Fortune's Bethany McLean - one of the few journalists to question Enron's stock price in early 2001 - has just taken a good look at Take Two Interactive, and she doesn't like what she sees. Four CEOs since 2002, execs dumping stock in recent months, fraudulent "parking transactions" that dramatically overstated earnings...and yet its stock price has remained bouyant. "How, in an era when investors are supposedly obsessed with corporate governance, are this firm's troubles so easily overlooked?"
posted by mediareport (12 comments total)
Time to short the stock (TTWO)! But, wait, maybe to late.
posted by ericb at 8:07 PM on August 17, 2005

*too late*
posted by ericb at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2005

But, others beg to differ.
posted by ericb at 8:10 PM on August 17, 2005

Smith Barney, ericb? You're fucking kidding me, right?
posted by mediareport at 8:12 PM on August 17, 2005

Smith Barney, ericb? You're fucking kidding me, right?

Exactly! ;)
posted by ericb at 8:21 PM on August 17, 2005

Maybe someone can get their kids into the the preschool program at the 92 Street Y!
posted by ericb at 8:23 PM on August 17, 2005

An investment firm called Rocker Partners, which specializes in short-selling, noticed in early 2001 that, among other things, the sales figures Take Two was reporting didn't track with NPD's figures. Soon Rocker began to send information about Take Two to the SEC.

posted by nervousfritz at 9:06 PM on August 17, 2005

Take Two has (have?) always been a little fishy. With the exception og the GTA franchise, their strategy has been to buy up struggling publishers and developers, then use those brands to push all sorts of crap (for example, Talonsoft).

The purchase of Gathering of Developers a few years ago was creepy. Take Two loaned GOD some money and got involved with GOD's distribution. When GOD had trouble re-paying the loan ... *gulp*.

Fishiest of all? They aren't prompt with checks to vendors and sub-contractors. Not at all.
posted by notyou at 6:53 AM on August 18, 2005

So Rockstar founder Ryan Brant's dad is a millionaire ex-con who married Stephanie Seymour? That's gotta be a little strange.
posted by bobo123 at 8:17 AM on August 18, 2005

Stock games aside, I'm tired of journalists writing about games they haven't actually played. "Players are rewarded for...beating up prostitutes after sex to reclaim their money"?

She makes it sound like the goal of the game is to rack up dead prostitutes like so many Ms. Pac Man fruits. The statement is only true if you consider $5 in loose change to be a "reward" -- and I don't believe they're carrying anything more than any other innocent bystander. Or am I wrong?

I always swerve to avoid hitting the ladies of the night -- it's my "Ultima IV"-style moral choice.
posted by johngoren at 10:18 AM on August 18, 2005

Well, they ARE rewarded for doing that. And she may have played it, she makes no indication that she was wrong in any of the game mechanics.

Don't forget she mentioned the good points of the game as well. This is probably the most impartial view of Take Two's "drunken frat-boy of the video game industry" (Rockstar).
posted by cleverusername at 10:26 AM on August 18, 2005

I always swerve to avoid hitting the ladies of the night -- it's my "Ultima IV"-style moral choice.

That's a beautiful comparison. It makes me nostalgic for the hours of fun I've had with Ultima IV. And it makes me think that the game's nifty concept could be pursued a lot farther with modern technology, which means Ultima IX was even more of a disappointment.
posted by graymouser at 10:34 AM on August 18, 2005

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