I guess some video games just aren't worth a 14-year wait.
Shares of Take-Two were trading as much as 5% lower today, after the initial wave of disappointing reviews.
- "Duke Nukem Forever Shoulda Stayed Vaporware," reads Wired's headline.
- "Duke Nukem Forever may ultimately wind up doing what hordes of alien invaders couldn't: making it so that no one cares about Duke's next game," concludes Time's Techland review.
- Ars Technica sums it up as "barely playable, not funny, rampantly offensive" in its headline.
Fans of the series probably wouldn't have a problem with the game's destructive and sexist nature. It's what Duke Nukem is all about, and Take-Two knows that a gaming company can milk parent-gasping objections into blockbusters. However, when even the critics feel that a title has gone too far in degrading women -- and that the gameplay is too buggy with interminable lags between levels -- it's hard to fathom Take-Two striking it rich on this one.
This is bad news for Take-Two. It's also bad news for GameStop
The negative reviews also come on the heels of last night's monthly report from industry tracker NPD Group, showing that stateside video game sales fell 14% last month relative to May of last year. Software sales were the biggest drag, which may lead many to wonder if folks are continuing to buy hardware for the sake of streaming Netflix
Take-Two has thankfully evolved beyond its early days where it would sputter between Grand Theft Auto releases, even though its stock continues to trade well below the $26 Electronic Arts
There will be a few more releases later this year, and a highly anticipated BioShock installment next year. However, unless diehard gamers come to a different conclusion than the diehard gamers they entrust for critical reviews, we may have to wait a lot more than 14 years for the next Duke Nukem release.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz will admit to still playing video games, though finding time is the rub. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Netflix. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.