It's no surprise that the Grand Theft Auto franchise once again helped out Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), which reported earnings for its fiscal first quarter yesterday. But while the losses have narrowed for the video-game publisher, I'm still not inclined to include it in the same league with the big three in its sector -- namely, Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), and rival THQ (NASDAQ:THQI).

For the quarter ended Jan. 31, net sales saw a small 5% increase and came in $277.3 million. The bottom-line loss was $21.5 million, or $0.30 per diluted share. That still beat last year's red ink, which totaled a net loss of $29.1 million, or $0.41 per diluted share.

Grand Theft Auto iterations for Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 2 console and its PSP portable system helped bring in the loot, as did the controversial Bully game. The company's popular fantasy title The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, playable on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360, turned in another solid showing.

We've all heard about Take-Two's ongoing options problems, although it seems that every company these days has a stock-option skeleton or two hiding in the corporate closet. I wrote recently about Take-Two's backdating woes, and although I definitely don't approve of such behavior, I think the company has a bigger problem at hand. On a relative basis, rival companies such as Activision and THQ are simply doing much better. It seems to me that an investor would want to select stock ideas from a stronger crowd, especially now that the new video-game cycle has arrived. Rick Munarriz made this point recently when he wrote about Take-Two's abysmal year-end results, and I can't help but agree with his thinking.

When the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series hits the stores in the fall, Take-Two's fortunes will certainly improve -- that's all but obvious. For now, though, I'm not keen on the idea of placing Take-Two in my portfolio. It has some compelling content in its software portfolio, but I prefer the strong licensing deals of the aforementioned big-three publishers.

Take on more Takes concerning Take-Two:

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Activision. As of this writing, he was ranked 14,273 out of 24,208 investors in Motley Fool CAPS. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.