The lights are on
Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive, has been frank on the future direction of their company at the Cowen Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in New York. More zombies, no MMOs in America, and of course a whole lot of GTA V are in the pipeline.
With only a few months left until the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V is slated for release, the company has revealed that although they are planning to invest in MMOs, they have no plans to release any to the US. “We look at it and say 'How many MMOs have ever been successful in the US?' Two. World of Warcraft and EverQuest,” Zelnick said at the conference. “That's kind of a bad slugging percentage."
The publisher has partnered with Tencent in China to publish NBA 2K Online and also have Civilization Online in the works.
However, fans of the publishers’ franchises should not fret, as this is not the only news revealed by Zelnick. Take-Two has no plans to support the limiting of the used game market of their titles in regards to next-gen console concerns.
Instead, the publisher is pushing for creating better titles that gamers will be less likely to sell or trade-in.
"Our view about used games has been, as opposed to whining or figuring out ways to punish the consumer for buying used games, we've figured out we better delight the consumer," Zelnick said.
However, if taxation on used Xbox One games goes through as rumored by retailers to MCV, Zelnick believes Take-Two and other publishers should receive a cut, rather than just Microsoft. Sony is leaving the decision on rumored used-game activation fees up to individual publishers to decide, meaning Take-Two’s approach to creating more expansive titles to avoid the trading-in of titles to begin with will likely take effect with the PlayStation 4 launch.
Zelnick further mentioned that the growing amount of zombie games is no mistake.
“Everyone always loves zombies,” Zelnick said. “I'd like to do zombies in everything, but I probably can't say that here. But they do sell.”
Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare was a huge success for the publisher. Whether or not this is a hint toward more zombie DLC in the future is uncertain at this point.
Looking toward Grand Theft Auto V, Zelnick believes the three switchable protagonist model of the storyline will be a publisher standard if it goes as well as planned. He believes the versatility of being able to switch between completely different types of characters allows players to experience the story in a more seamless way and will redefine the industry’s standards. Because Take-Two is the first to attempt switchable characters on this scale, other publishers will be left trying to catch up. Part of what will determine the quality of games after Grand Theft Auto V releases is how well other creators are able to adapt.
“A B-product simply isn't going to sell,” Zelnick said. “And even an A-product has to be highly competitive to sell."