Is Microsoft buying Rockstar?

Posted by Jason Triplett Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Microsoft buying a company isn't big news these days. They suck up all the little guys like a vacuum. However, when the company is question is Rockstar games, the small news becomes a supernova. I want to point out that at this point, neither company will comment on this buyout, so we are merely looking at the facts that are out there and speculating on how it will go down.

Take-Two has been a huge force in the gaming world, buying up small indie companies and bringing them into their collective. However, Rockstar has caused them far too much pain in their tenure with T2. Most notably, "Hot Coffee" cost the company a lot of money in fines and a full scale recall, and further tarnished Take-Two in the faces of the government and the ESRB.

A short time after the "Hot Coffee" fiasco, Take-Two's New York office was severely damaged in an office fire, destroying everything inside. All their records, hardware, software, everything. This hurt them badly. Take-Two has to relocate all of their employees, and considers filing for bankruptcy.

Take-Two is called before the congress to discuss GTA and the upcoming games "Bully" and "Snow". Congress warns that if either game is released, take-Two will face even further investigation and scrutiny.

E3 2006. A spectacular E3 for Microsoft. Peter Moore blows us away with the GTA 360 announcment and te now infamous tattoo. GTA IV is scheduled to launch on 360 first and PS3 a short time later.

The very next day on G4TV, Peter Moore sat down with Kevin Pereira for a shocking announcment. This is the one that would cause al the controversy! In the interview, Moore revealed that just prior the the interview he was doing, he signed a contract of exclusivity, and that GTA IV was now "Only on XBOX 360". Kevin asked Moore how he managed to steal away such a huge title from Sony. Moore stated that Rockstar were "smart businessmen" and that they "knew what they were doing".

After E3, no one was talking. Rockstar, Take-Two, Sony, Microsoft...nobody. Until Sony makes a statement that would almost collaborate what was happening behind the scenes. Sony co-CEO Jack Tretton commented in an interview about the deal, saying the following:

"There's no question that having the Grand Theft Auto franchise helped us a lot and helped us sell some units, but I don't think the battle would be any different with or without Grand Theft Auto.

If you look at our first-party library and the franchises that we've brought to market over the course of PlayStation 2, we have a very formidable first-party library of exclusive software that will help define us."

In other words, Sony claims they don't need GTA.

Take-Two is hit again by the ESRB, this time behind Oblivion's rating. Due to the fact that the PC version has a player created nude mod, the ESRB forces T2 to re-rate the game from T to M. Take-Two and Bethesda claim that this is all the fault of Rockstar, GTA, and the "Hot Coffee" situation. They say that if "Hot Coffee" never happened, the ESRB wouldn't have been so strict in this case.

Take-Two announces that they have cancelled the game "Snow" in which you sell, smuggle, and distribute drugs, saying they didn't want any more controversy, and that it "just isn't a good game".

Rockstar Games fires over half of it's employees, including one of the co-founders of Rockstar. A massive firing of this sort is almost ALWAYS indicative of a buyout. A huge mass firing is usually done to cut the fat, making room for employees of the purchasing company. This sends shockwaves throughout the industry.

And now most recently, Take-Two announced that it is in fact being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding stock option grants given to employees between 1997 and today. A Federal investigation is exactly what the company doesn't need at the present time.

Despite the number of great titles they have on the shelves, T2 continues to lose more money than they are making. Certainly selling off the company that keeps them under scrutiny and investigation would help them in two ways. First, they would make a sweet sum of cash from the deal. Knowing MS, they were willing to pay a hefty sum to snatch Rockstar from T2. Second, cutting the only controversial developer on their roster would ensure the company could rise again to the levels in which it once was...this time without the added controversy that Rockstar brings.

Losing Rockstar also isn't a huge deal to T2, since their only two premiere franchise titles were GTA and Midnight Club. Most of Rockstar's other games have been considered flops by the press and players alike. T2 still has 2K games, which is one of the largest publishers on the scene today, as well as many other smaller companies.

Expect an official announcment about this buyout in the coming months. All the facts lead up to this buyout, so at this point, judging on the facts presented here today, we are 99.9% sure this is happening behind the scenes. If you all think back to the Rare buyout, certain details were very similar in the way they went down.

Stay tuned as we cover this story further, and remember, you heard it here first...on RATED-M.COM!

  1. Normally I could care less about GTA. However GTA is still a huge franchise in itself, and Sony is currently on Huge Bluff mode. If Microsoft were to gain GTA as a whole, instead of just #4, then that in itself would be a huge blow to Sony.

    GTA III is one of the games that helped Sell Playstation 2s, and Microsoft would have something on the first party lineup (or is it Second Party?) other then Halo to back it up.

    Microsoft is already recieving alot of Original games under big budgets such as: Mass Effect, Gears of War, and Too Human, while maintaining a Small Front with the Casual Gamer market under MSN Games and Xbox Live Arcade, while I have no doubt in my mind those 2 in themselves will be bound together as one sometime soon.

    Sony needs to think fast if they want to even survive this time. They invested a hell of alot in the Playstation Platform and if they lose the Playstation 3 they could lose their entire company as well. The Playstation is just much to influental for them to ignore inside of their own company.

    Posted on 9:00 PM

  2. SaintJimmy Said,

    Dude this isnt happening cause they have to buy take two, bethshada, and rockstar thats billions and as the mass firing its because the millions and millions lost after the contversy of Oblivion and GTA:SA

    Posted on 5:08 PM

  3. They wouldn't have to buy ALL of Take-Two to gain Rockstar. As we all know, Bully IS coming out, but it isn't even close to the game it was gonna be. We expect the game to flop HARD, which will hurt T2 even more. Secondly, we have all heard by now that T2 is yet again in financial and legal trouble.

    This is indeed coming. It is only a matter of time.

    Posted on 11:26 AM


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