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NY Post Doesn't Want You To Put Stock In Take-Two (GTA/Manhunt/Etc.)
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Darkweaver
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NY Post Doesn't Want You To Put Stock In Take-Two (GTA/Manhunt/Etc.)

From: www.nypost.com/seven/12292003/business/14640.htm
quote:
GIVE BACK TAKE-TWO

December 29, 2003 -- IN this season of ecumenical brotherhood, here's a suggestion for how to advance the cause of peace: Sell your stock in Take-Two Interactive Inc.
In case you can't quite place the name, New York-based Take-Two Interactive is a Nasdaq-traded company in the video game business.

Over the last couple of years, the company has been one of Wall Street's hottest stocks, climbing by more than 500 percent to a high of nearly $42 per share earlier this year.

But Take-Two has lately gotten knocked around a bit, both in the market and on the regulatory front, as a long-smoldering Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the company's accounting looks to be coming to a head.

Yet that's not the only reason to stay away from this stock. Some long-overdue questions are also being raised about the nature of Take-Two's unusual product line, which is coming under attack by local and state legislators around the country.

SO before turning to Take-Two's other problems, let's first pause for some thoughts on the core question of what this company actually does - which is to produce and market video games of such luxuriously violent and disgusting content as to leave one simply speechless.

The latest installment in the company's best-selling "Grand Theft Auto" series - "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" - has been on the market for a little over a year now and has already sold more than 5 million copies.

Lately, the game has been in the news quite a bit - though not for any reason Take-Two would have wanted - as leaders in the Haitian community and elsewhere have gotten noticeably torqued up about a line of dialogue that consists of the following: "Kill the Haitians."

The offending line has brought public rebukes of the company from both Mayor Bloomberg and the Anti-Defamation League, and Take-Two has responded by saying it will remove the words from future editions of the game.

But trust me when I tell you that considering what else goes on in "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," that phrase is nothing.

HERE'S the game's basic bit: You're a cocaine dealer, see, and you get ripped off in a drug deal that goes bad. So your mission is to get your drugs and your money back - by committing as many violent, homicidal crimes as you can possibly think up.

You can pursue your goal by killing Haitians, of course, but you can also kill anyone (or everyone) else. You can machine-gun them, beat them with baseball bats, chop them up with machetes or run them over with stolen cars.

And when you do, everything will look incredibly and shockingly real, with blood spewing everywhere.

You can kill a cop, steal his gun, and then use it to shoot someone else. Or you can pick up a prostitute and have sex with her in the back of your stolen car, then beat her to death - or shoot her, bludgeon her, whatever you want.

In fact, "whatever you want" is what the game is all about. Thanks to its artful and complex programming and its incredibly realistic graphics, the game creates the impression of being inside a totally unscripted, live-action drama in which you can manufacture your mayhem as you go along.

People, this is insane. This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy - or than any lie the feds think Martha Stewart ever told them, or any line in any song that Bruce Springsteen ever sang that rankled a cop in the Meadowlands.

And trust me when I tell you, Mr. Mayor, what Take-Two Interactive is blowing into your face every day is a whole lot worse than second-hand cigarette smoke.

Out of that company is spewing the glorification of mass murder and the celebration of death. And the fact that the game supposedly can't be sold to anyone under 17 years of age is completely irrelevant and changes nothing.

FOR one thing, the age cutoff is totally unenforceable, and everyone knows it. And cases surface constantly in which "Grand Theft Auto" has been linked to violence and killing. In Tennessee last summer a motorist was killed and his passenger wounded when two boys - aged 14 and 16 - played "Grand Theft Auto" and then decided to go out and take sniper shots at cars, just like in the game.

Besides: By what preposterous reasoning can one argue that once someone turns 17 years of age it magically becomes OK to glorify mass murder? Are we saying that it would have been OK for that Beltway Sniper guy - who was apparently in his 40s - to have been allowed to play "Grand Theft Auto" before going on his killing spree, but it wouldn't have been OK for that young teenager who went along with him to have done the same?

This whole age-cutoff thing is simply garbage - just like "Grand Theft Auto" itself - and sooner or later, I would imagine, we'll come to our senses and ban these games from public commerce, just like we ban child pornography and entertainment spectacles such as cock fighting and dwarf throwing.

Meantime, Take-Two is milking this product for all it is worth: Next year the company will even be introducing a Gameboy version of the thing, so that kids can carry it around with them wherever they go. This way they'll be able to get re-stimulated, whenever necessary, with some of the most menacing messages known to civilized man.

WHAT would be left of an outfit like Take- Two Interactive if its bizarre version of digital snuff porn were outlawed?

Frankly, not much. The company's latest three-month and nine-month financial results, covering the period through July 31, show "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and an earlier version of the same ghastly program ("Grand Theft Auto III") to have accounted for just under half the company's sales.

Take-Two was founded in 1993 by a young fellow named Ryan Brant, who was apparently raised in a family steeped in its own Vice City values. Ryan's daddy, Peter, a polo-playing fop from Greenwich, Conn., did time in federal prison for tax fraud after trying to write off $1.5 million worth of massages, jewelry, scalp rubs and what-not as business expenses.

Last spring, Dad was hit with more tax woes when federal prosecutors filed a suit against him and his partner - art dealer Larry Gagosian - alleging that they owe $26 million in taxes on fine art sales dating back to 1990.

Dad was an original investor in Master Ryan's excellent adventure, and currently collects $474,000 per year from the company in return for leasing it some of the New York real estate he owns. That lease is set to expire in the new year.

THE Securities and Exchange Commission got interested in Take-Two last year after the company restated its financial results for most of the previous two years. The restatement followed reports that the company had been claiming revenues from fictitious sales.

Now the SEC seems ready to act. Earlier this month it issued the company something known as a Wells Notice, which amounts to a "your time is up" letter; its purpose is to inform the target of an SEC investigation that fraud charges are about to be filed against it. Ryan Brant received an additional Wells Notice himself, as did two former officials who the company did not name - meaning that the SEC plans to include all three as defendants in its complaint.

Bottom line: Stay away from this stock - far, far away - and you'll be doing both your wallet and your fellow man a favor. Happy New Year.


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Old Post Dec 31st, 2003 01:41 AM
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mechmoggy
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Errrm...moving confused


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Old Post Jan 2nd, 2004 05:20 PM
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113
Eat My Ass

Gender: Male
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yeah i stopped reading after ab it cause it got boring and repetitive...

but gta is a great series...if people take the actions in those games out into real life then they're just idiots...


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Old Post Jan 3rd, 2004 05:40 AM
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jinXed by JaNx
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so was the argument this guy was trying to make supposed to encourage people to play the game because after reading the post i just felt like going and playing some GTA. i thought kill the haitians was one of video games best quotes in all of it's history, shit i challenge 5 people to tell me what a haitian is in the first place


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Old Post Jan 3rd, 2004 07:30 AM
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113
Eat My Ass

Gender: Male
Location: Brooklyn, NY

hahahh

someone from haiti rage...it's nationality hahaha

but yeah people shouldn't be so uptight wtf


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Old Post Jan 3rd, 2004 07:32 AM
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jinXed by JaNx
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well im sure people from haiti dont even know what a PS2 is,or if they do they have bigger worries, like discovering electricity. so no worries


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Old Post Jan 3rd, 2004 07:49 AM
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113
Eat My Ass

Gender: Male
Location: Brooklyn, NY

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH nice1


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Old Post Jan 4th, 2004 06:39 AM
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