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'Grand Theft Auto' maker Take-Two to let go 5% of staff, scrap some projects

NBA 2K22 and Grand Theft Auto 5 by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc are seen for sale in a store in Manhattan, New York City

(Reuters) -Take-Two Interactive Software will lay off about 5% of its workforce, or around 600 employees, the publisher of the "Grand Theft Auto" franchise said on Tuesday, as the video-gaming industry extends its more than two-year long job cuts.

The company will also scrap several projects in development as part of a cost-reduction plan, which is expected to result in total charges of up to $200 million. It declined to name the projects that have been canceled .

Take-Two said the move is expected to drive more than $165 million of annual cost savings.

The company's shares were 1% higher in extended trading. They have fallen nearly 10% so far this year.

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The move aligns Take-Two with Tencent-owned Riot Games, Electronic Arts and Japan's Sony Corp in trimming workforce this year due to uncertain spending from consumers after the pandemic-era boom.

PC and console gaming revenue growth is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels through 2026 as gamers record fewer hours of playtime, according to research firm Newzoo.

Canceled projects will account for as much as $140 million of the total charges, while severance and employee-related costs are expected to be up to $35 million, it said. Take-Two will also reduce some office space as part of the move.

The company, which had 11,580 full-time employees as of March 2023, last month agreed to buy "Borderlands" maker Gearbox for $460 million in a cut-price deal at a time consolidation is driving up prices for makers of well-known titles.

Take-Two has been focused on the development of the next installment in the best-selling "Grand Theft Auto" franchise, but some reports have said the title could be delayed into 2026 from 2025.

(Reporting by Aditya Soni and Christy Santhosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Sriraj Kalluvila)