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Why This "Bioshock" to Take-Two's System Might Be Good Over the Long Haul

By Tim Beyers – Feb 20, 2014 at 7:00PM

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Subsidiary Irrational Games to close as founders rethink the future of gaming.

A sad day for Irrational Games might end well for Take-Two Interactive (TTWO 3.42%), Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

First, the bad news. After 17 years, Irrational Games, the Take-Two studio subsidiary responsible for the megahit Bioshock Infinite, is shutting down. Talented people will be laid off, which stinks. Yet Tim says there's hope to be had in what Irrational co-founder Ken Levine has planned.

Writing in a blog post, Levine said he plans to start anew inside Take-Two with a skeleton team of just 15. Together, they'll be working on what he describes as "narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable." How that will manifest isn't entirely clear at this point, though Tim says it seems like a massive undertaking.

Importantly for investors, Levine said he was "prepared" to jettison from the company he founded and create a new start-up. Take-Two instead convinced him to develop the project as an employee, as if he were an entrepreneur in residence at a venture capital firm. Tim says that's a hugely bullish sign, reflecting Take-Two's willingness to bet on proven innovators.

In the meantime, Levine said that unwinding Irrational will involve attempts to place those laid off with other Take-Two or external studios and provide financial support as developers prepare their portfolios and seek new gigs elsewhere. A bummer, certainly, since layoffs are always a bad outcome. Yet there's reason to be optimistic amid the fallout from Levine's ambitions. In trying to create something radical, his efforts may prove beneficial not only to Take-Two investors, but also to an industry that needs as much innovation as it can get.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Are you enthusiastic about what Levine has planned, or would you rather Take-Two stuck with Bioshock? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take on the news, then leave a comment to let us know where you stand, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Take-Two Interactive stock at current prices.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Take-Two Interactive. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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