Take-Two CEO: games must 'delight' consumers to avoid secondhand market

CEO talks GTA V, MMOs and next-gen used games

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has discussed his company's position on several hot issues at a conference today, including Microsoft's plans for used games and the fate of MMOs.


Speaking at the Cowen Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Zelnick also suggested that Grand Theft Auto 5 will usher in a new era where multiple protagonists will be the norm.

"We think Grand Theft Auto 5 is going to redefine what an open-world game is and will be," he said. "We also think that you're going to have to have multiple protagonists in video games going forward, and we actually know how to do it because we're the first ones to do it.

"It's going to be very, very difficult for our competitors to do this. And they're going to have to do it in our opinion."

On the topic of used games, Zelnick said that if Microsoft has plans to tax used games with its next-gen console Xbox One, then publishers should receive some of that income. "There's no question that if Microsoft figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid too," he said. "It's hard to imagine why they should and we shouldn't."

He said that the best way for publishers to avoid losing profit to the secondhand market is simply to "delight" consumers.

"Let's push up our quality, which you've seen in our Metacritic scores, and then let's make sure to give people DLC, often free, three or four weeks out; which is the time you're at risk of them trading in their game.

"If you can keep the game in consumer's hands for eight weeks, you almost don't care anymore about used game sales because it's the first 8 weeks that really nail you."

During his address, Zelnick also discussed Take-Two's approach to MMOs, confirming that the publisher has no intention of releasing an MMO in the West..

"We're actively investing in online MMOs; we're not doing it in the US. Why? Because MMOs don't work here. We've stayed away from that market and instead we went to Asia where at any given time ten or twenty and successful in China generation lots of revenue," he said.

"A couple of our competitors have found out that through very, very expensive lessons - one of our competitors just recently announced they're restarting an MMO project in the US," Zelnick said, referring to Blizzard's Titan.

"We look at it and say 'How many MMOs have ever been successful in the US?' Two. World of Warcraft and EverQuest. That's kind of a bad slugging percentage."

Take-Two will publish Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V on September 17.

The company has also promised "groundbreaking new intellectual property" for next-generation consoles.

"Our industry appears poised to enter an exciting growth period driven by the upcoming launches of the next-generation consoles, as well as the increasing popularity of emerging mobile and online platforms," Zelnick said during an earnings call earlier this month.

[ SOURCE: Gamespot ]