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After saying layoffs would be the "hardest thing to do", GTA publisher Take-Two announces plans to lay off around 500 staff, cancel some projects

About 5% of the company's workforce is reportedly in line to be let go by the end of this year.

Lucia in jail in GTA 6.
Image credit: VG247/Rockstar Games.

Take-Two Interactive, the company behind GTA developer Rockstar Games - which also recently acquired Borderlands developer Gearbox Software for $460 million - has announced plans to lay off just over 500 of its employees and cancel some in-development projects. This, as we've sadly come to expect, is part of a plan to cut costs at the company.

The plans were revealed via an SEC filing (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz) which outlined that Take-Two's board of directors had approved them and provided an explanation behind the rationale the company's using to justify making such a move. The latter contains a lot of the kind of language you might expect.

In that filing, Take-Two wrote that this cost slashing is designed "to identify efficiencies across its business and enhance the company’s margin profile, while still investing for growth". "As part of these efforts," it added, "the company is rationalizing its pipeline and eliminating several projects in development and streamlining its organizational structure, which will eliminate headcount and reduce future hiring needs."

So, what does that mean? Well, around 580 people - of the 11,500 or so that were cited as making up Take-Two's total headcount the last time that was reported by the company - are set to lose their jobs by the end of 2024, incurring "approximately $25 million to $35 million [in costs] associated with employee severance and employee-related costs" for the publisher. Also, those unnamed projects being cancelled will set the company back between $120 million and $140 million. Take-Two's also set to scale back its office space as part of the plans.

The move comes after Take-Two has spent quite a large portion of the past couple of years, with GIBiz pointing out that this cost-cutting program is the third one the company's announced since February 2023. It also comes after Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told IGN during an earnings call back in February this year, while the company was still finalising this bout of cost-cutting, that "the hardest thing to do is to lay off colleagues, and we have no current plans".

Obviously, things change all the time in this industry, but yeah, this seems worth remembering next time a CEO says something similar.

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