Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most successful video games of its generation, breaking quarterly records and securing billions of dollars all around the world. You would think that Take-Two would like to cash in on that success year in and year out because Activision, EA, and Ubisoft are all doing that, right?
Take-Two and Rockstar are taking the high road in the annual release debate and are shunning potentially billions of dollars annually to “create permanent franchises,” as Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick claims to MCV in firm rejection of annualizing its properties.
“It is great that consumers anticipate our titles, like they anticipate the next James Bond film. Our goal is to create permanent franchises.
A few years ago, we’d launch a title, it would be sold physically, then we would sell catalogue versions of it. Today we launch a title, and often – if not always – put out DLC. We’ve talked about recurrent consumer spending, where we have offerings where fans can engage and spend money on an on-going basis.”
And I wholeheartedly agree with Zelnick. I might not be on the Grand Theft Auto bandwagon yet like the rest of the world, but I’ve always respected Take-Two and its partners at Rockstar and 2K Games for being the most gamer oriented of the major publishers. Decisions such as gambling on risky new franchises like Borderlands and BioShock, resisting yearly cash grabs from Grand Theft Auto, showing creativity and leniency on developers with XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Spec Ops: The Line all show that the company is really in touch with its fanbase.
Take-Two is playing the good cop in this situation, and the fact that it can still thrive by not subjecting themselves to all the models and trends of modern day major publishers speaks worlds about their properties.
Of course, Zelnick couldn’t ignore the record breaking quarter that Take-Two saw in the wake of Grand Theft Auto V and acknowledged the game’s success.
“With GTA V, we have sold 32.5m units in to date, which is extraordinary. 70 per cent of people that have played GTA V while online have played GTA Online, which is a free-to-play experience. And recurrent consumer spending related to GTA Online represented nearly half of our digitally delivered revenue in the quarter. So people are voting that they want to stay engaged and they are voting with their wallets.”
You really have to wonder if Grand Theft Auto would sell so much if only given a year to simmer on the minds of gamers. Do you think you can manage another five year wait until the next game?