Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

September 15, 2008 -

gamesindustry.biz reports that the uncertain status of GTA masterminds Sam and Dan Houser (left) may have played a key role in sinking an EA-T2 merger. The brothers' current contract with Take-Two expires in February.

Moreover, as GP has alluded to in the past, chemistry was lacking between EA and T2 execs. Along that line, gamesindustry.biz reports comments by analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen and Co.:

We think EA's decision to walk was motivated by some combination of the following: a desire to appear fiscally responsible after several years of capital misallocation, concern about EA’s ability to retain the development talent at Rockstar, personality conflicts between the management teams of the two companies, and scepticism about Take-Two's multi-year release lineup.

 

The main question mark is the status of Rockstar’s key talent [i.e., Dan and Sam Houser], with their contract due to expire in February 2009.
 

Meanwhile, in a note issued this morning, Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter foresees a bidding war for the Housers:

While neither [Houser brother] writes game code, we believe that they are analogous to the director of a Hollywood film, instrumental in determining the final shape of the ultimate games released. We expect a bidding war for the Housers’ services in February 2009, and remain convinced that Take-Two faces two equally unpalatable options: either lose the Housers to another bidder, or pay more to retain them...

 

Should the Housers depart to Activision, Ubisoft, or even to EA, we think that Take-Two will suffer lower future sales of its GTA games. We draw an analogy to EA’s Medal of Honor brand, which saw sales decline by over 40% following the departure of key members of its development teams in 2003. Those teams produced Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, which has consistently outsold Medal of Honor since the departure...

 

On the other hand, should the Housers remain at Take-Two, the price of making future Grand Theft Auto games will go up...

Nor does Pachter anticipate any other publishers stepping up to acquire T2 - again, it's the Houser factor:

We do not think that any offers will come in from third parties. The risk of losing key talent is too great, and the Housers’ contract is up for renewal in February. Should a third party (including EA) be interested in an acquisition, we think that the first step is to secure the services of the Housers. Thus, we do not expect competing offers to materialize until after February 2009, when the status of the Housers’ contract is better understood.


Comments

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

Nintendo is indeed selling SOME of these on the Virtual Console but not even close to all of them. While i agree in part to his piracy he was filling a market that Nintendo failed to recognize. Maybe someone doesnt want to buy a Wii. maybe they just want a console with 50 - 100 NES games on them?? maybe just maybe?

but no Nintendo wants everyone araba kiralama to buy the Wii. thats their excuse but thats not what copyright is supposed to protect. i am real sure that the makers of 10 yard fight were losing sleep because they were missing out on their $0.00025 worth because they didnt get royalties from this player. *smirk*

my question is, should Super Mario Bros. be banned from public domain forever? isnt 23 years enough time for Nintendo to have made their profits?

If you have followed the Steamboat Willie case regarding Mickey Mouse you can rest in your bed well at night knowing that the MOUSE will still be under copyright law, away from public domain after your great grandchildren are in nursing homes. That is beyond ridiculous dont you think??

Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it's due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA's Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there's no one left on the Board.

Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.

YES.

Now I don't have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

Wait... I think that sounds like a good idea.

But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God's Sake... least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

I'm glad this came out to tell you truth.  Everybody keeps thinking that the deal was about GTA when it never was.  EA can make their own GTA(ish) game if they wanted to, just like they're making their own Bioshock(ish) game in dead space.  If EA really wanted to go after GTA then they could've just waited until Rockstars contract to expire and then throw the 2 billion at them, and they'd be nearly stupid not to take it.  I really don't think Rockstar would want to work with EA since they'd get less freedom than they do with T2.  EA really wanted to go after T2's sports division.  They wanted to eliminate that competition or either stamp their name on it and profit from it.  I think one of the reasons why they didn't go through with it was because of a possible walkout by some of the talent at T2.  I think another reason is that EA might try to go after Natural Motion, in order to get their hands on that Euphoria engine and keep it out of T2's hands.  If EA gets their hands on that engine, it's officially a wrap for T2's sports division. 

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

Those dirty bastard...

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

@EA

Stan 'OMG they killed the game industry.'
Kyle 'You bastards!'

 

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

It might be worth mentioning that Michael Hackter was the guy who repeatedly stated that the EA-T2 merger was guaranteed to happen almost immediately.  He continues to prove he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

I'm fairly positive the only reason he gets asked for an "analysis" anymore by the press is because people recognize his name.  Which is probably because he's wrong so often.

What cracks me up is how much he seems to think the loss of the Housers would influence future GTA sales.  The only gamers that even know the Houser name are the core gamers who spend a lot of time on gaming message boards/blogs/etc.  That's like saying Madden '10 won't sell because person X wasn't involved, the general public doesn't care and they will still buy it on name recognition alone.

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

in all honesty, I think most of us thought that EA was going to take out T2, may it have been instantly due to stock holders, or over a few months, but over time was my bet... and I was wrong too.  Who really did think T2 was going to pull out of this alive?  Hopefully R* doesnt leave, but if they leave to EA, that is one less game sell to me from any game they make.

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

The thing is that Pachter was more insistant than most, even when things began to look rocky. He basically took it as given as inevitable. When he expressed surprise that EA was willing to turn their offer friendly again - despite the fact that it was clear that negotiations were the only way that EA would make any headway - you know he'd made up his mind.

-Gray17

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

Good point

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

My thoughts exactly.

Additionally I don't think his analogy with the MoH situation at EA is all that great from the standpoint that IIRC, EA was having numerous problems with mismanged products around that time. Stuff rushed out the door, buggy, and so forth. If you're in the middle of establishing a horrible reputation for quality and customer care as EA was back then, of course sales are going to drop.

-Gray17

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

Are you somehow implying that the MoH series and the Infinity Wards CoD games are on par? And that the primary force behind the CoD explosion over MoH was EA's poor management skills? That's just absurd.

The presented analogy is almost perfect if you ask me.

Re: Report: Houser Bros. Loomed Large in Collapse of EA-T2 Deal

So why would the houser brothers leave Take two other than a better contract?

Just perfect a chance that the next GTA won't be so great even if EA doesn't get involved. Oh well.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.
 
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