One of the most important and influential people in the history of the gaming industry has left a 13% crater in a company's stock price.
Dan Houser, who co-founded Rockstar Games with his brother Sam, has left the empire he built. He'll step down as Creative Vice President sometime in March, and that leaves Take-Two Interactive ($TTWO) without the visionary (and controversial) force behind the scenes to power its intellectual property. Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption are some of the highest revenue producers in the history of entertainment, so this raises more questions than it answers.
"We are extremely grateful for [Dan's] contributions. Rockstar Games has built some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game worlds, a global community of passionate fans, and an incredibly talented team, which remains focused on current and future projects." - Take-Two Interactive
After the lawsuit with former President Leslie Benzies, and now the departure of half of the Houser brain trust, where does Take-Two go from here in regards to Rockstar's future with the company?
You can see the company's stock for the last six months, as well as how many people list themselves as employees on LinkedIn. Rockstar Games itself is home to more than 2,000 staffers worldwide in various studios, but the Houser brothers had tremendous influence and control over everything released. Many in the media have speculated about the state of games to come, whether they will maintain focus on the online portions of their games or just drop the single-player elements altogether going forward.
Take-Two corporate is still hiring, up 108% since August, but with so many studios under its belt, it's hard to track every single opening globally. 2K has its sports games, Gearbox has the Borderlands franchise, and Firaxis has XCOM. There's a new Bioshock in development, and of course, it'll be years until we hear about the new Rockstar game in development. But no one being hired now will be as legendary as Dan Houser; he ain't walking through that door again to make another smash hit.
Rockstar's Twitter following has only gone up over the years, 66% since we started scrapping the data in 2015. And they barely tweet, which is even wilder. Ultimately, as long as the quality of the games doesn't suffer because of this news, most fans will not notice or care. Hundreds of millions of players bring in billions of dollars for Take-Two, and this chart barely scratches the surface on just how massive the fanbase and userbase are for GTA Online and Red Dead Online.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.