In a recent interview, Take-Two’s CEO laid out what he thinks about the gaming industry, entertainment overall, and what Microsoft’s chances for success look like. Strauss Zelnick says he’s optimistic, and thinks that Xbox’s new console generation is going to do “very well.”
However, hidden within that interview are nuggets of information about where Take-Two is going and what it will mean for all of some of their properties. Specifically, Strauss Zelnick said that the publisher has no intention of putting some of their titles on streaming services. That’s not to say that they won’t be available, but Take-Two and Zelnick are going to be focusing on physical sales—as they have with GTA V.
Several years ago, Strauss was asked why they didn’t make GTA Online free. Strauss claimed that they had “a lot of copies left to sell.” That was an astonishing claim at the time, but the company went on to sell 30 million more copies of the game. While Strauss believes that cloud gaming has a place, he doesn’t believe that it’s the game-changer that many others think that it is.
That being said, he believes that content is what is going to drive console sales, not cloud gaming or subscription services. Zelnick says,
“…the implication is you are super interested in video games but you were just unwilling to buy a console. I mean, I’m sure there were people like that, but if they are so interested that they want to pay $60 or $70 for a front-line title, it’s hard for me to believe they were unwilling to spend $250 on a console… We’ve sold 135 million units of Grand Theft Auto V, 32 million units of Red Dead Redemption. I wish I could tell you that there will come a point where various cloud gaming services will mean those numbers are doubled or tripled, but I don’t really see it.”
By content, he means quality, engaging games.
Strauss said that Take-Two enjoys working with both Microsoft and Sony and that both launches are looking aggressive to him, which is a good thing. He also said that while Sony has been dominant in Asian markets, he believes that Microsoft may make some in-roads there with the next generation; saying that if he had to guess, he would say that “Microsoft is going to do very well.”
He goes on to say, “…As you know, Microsoft has bought some studios. There’s a lot of stuff that they own and control. Perhaps they’ll do more of that. They have a great balance sheet.” However, Game Pass and Xcloud don’t feature in that success in his mind, “…there will be certain important front-line titles that will not be available on a subscription basis. Those are very much the titles that people buy these platforms for.”
Take-Two, for its part, is going to be focusing on quality games. Strauss stressed several times that he believes quality is the key to ensuring that the company that he leads will remain one of the top publishers in the world. Time will tell how both companies do with the launches, but no matter what happens, Take-Two is going to try and capitalize on both of them—just don’t expect to get anything for free.
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