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Take-Two: "We need to get bigger"

Zelnick says company must aspire to profitability in non-GTA years

Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick has said that the publisher needs to get bigger in order to turn a profit in the years when a Grand Theft Auto game isn't released.

Speaking to the LA Times, Zelnick explained that the company's expansive distribution network isn't cost effective when a GTA game doesn't come out.

It's an issue that Take-Two tried to address by selling off its Jack of All Games distribution business last year. However, the problem is obvious looking at the company's last two fiscal years. In 2008 - when GTA IV was released - it generated net income of $97 million, and in 2009 it lost $138 million.

"We have a worldwide distribution and publishing footprint, and in a GTA year that cost basis is fine, but in a non-GTA year it's too high," said Zelnick. "We need to get bigger."

The executive proposed that Take-Two released games in a more timely manner - however he said that it won't resort to annual releases due to the impact that would have on creativity.

"We can make quality video games and release them in a somewhat more orderly fashion than we have done historically," Zelnick said. "We'll stop short of a strictly annual schedule, however, because I think that is the enemy of pushing the envelope creatively."

The publisher's upcoming release schedule includes new IPs LA Noire and Red Dead Redemption and franchise sequels Civilization 5 and Mafia II, and Zelnick confirmed that it is working on a sequel to the 6 million-selling Carnival Games.

He added that success would be achieved when the company makes money during a year when a GTA game isn't released.

"The barometer is when we are profitable in a non-GTA year," he said. "I think we can get there. I certainly aspire to it."

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Latest comments (2)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 9 years ago
Quality over quantity springs to mind.
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Michael Abraham game designer 9 years ago
even if you COULD push out a GTA every year AND still be able to meet and exceed quality in the creative process, it's also important to consider market saturation. too many iterations in so many years would mean reduced sales as people play 'catch up' so to speak, as they haven't yet finished with the previous one(s). this is especially true in a game that's as large as GTA is. plus there's only so far you can go with a given franchise before it's going to end up warped beyond recognition (e.g. C&C4).

this isn't a football manager game (or similar), which draws on real life and therefore is time based in it's appeal.
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