Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive explains why it’s not interested in “milking” popular franchises such as the Red Dead series or the Grand Theft Auto titles.
On Tuesday, Take-Two Interactive‘s president Karl Slatoff took part in a business presentation in New York, and was asked about why the company does not put out its non-sports titles on an annual basis, and if was a hard to keep investors interested in properties that are not released yearly. Take-Two Interactive‘s president responded by explaining, “Yes, it is a challenge,” but went on to say the publisher refrains from annualizing popular series such as the Red Dead games and the Grand Theft Auto titles to avoid turning them into stale commodities.
Slatoff further unpacked Take-Two’s reasons for managing its products in such a strict manner, by stating that doing so not only protects them from franchise fatigue, but it also makes the games more coveted in the long run, and causes the brands to which they are attached to become more profitable. Regarding Take-Two’s decision to avoid annual releases, the company’s president said:
“We don’t intend to change annual strategy because of product fatigue. [Take-Two] creates franchise value and [releases have] to be managed deliberately.
“It’s tempting to have continuous releases and milk a franchise as far as you can, [but] we’ve seen that fatigue in other franchises in the games industry. With almost every single franchise for us, the latest release is bigger than the one before.”
Back in November 2015, Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick basically expressed the same sentiment, giving similar examples to demonstrate why Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead are not annual releases. Zelnick explained that in making the availability of such titles more exclusive, it allows developers more time to enhance the games’ quality, and also increases fans’ anticipation and demand.
Interestingly enough, though, Zelnick did mention at the time that some of Take-Two Interactive’s games like Borderlands and BioShock were on track to being put out more regularly. However, it’s safe to assume that titles underneath the Rockstar Games banner will continue to have flexible schedules, especially since the decision to space out the launches of releases from series such as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and Red Dead still makes the publisher bank, and results in both love from fans and critical acclaim.
Take-Two Interactive’s resolution to hold off on making most of its games annual releases is an incredibly smart move from a business standpoint, and a lot of other companies would do well to adopt it as a strategy. The recent suggestion from Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot that Assassin’s Creed may stop being an annual release, for example, could pay off in the end for the French-based publisher if it implements the plan like Take-Two Interactive has. After all, it’s hard to argue with successful results like Grand Theft Auto 5 eventually going on to become the best selling game ever in the UK.
As many are aware, two of Take-Two Interactive‘s most well-known titles are Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption, and the former is available for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, while the latter is on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.