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Take-Two CEO on Epic Store: "Competition is a good thing"

But they're “better placed to be where the consumer is, rather than indicating where they need to be”

Take-Two views the arrival of the Epic Store as a potentially good thing for its business, but has seemingly ruled out launching its own download platform.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, CEO Strauss Zelnick says that it's important for the firm to be where the consumer is, rather than dictating to them to shop at a specific location. He was responding to a question as to whether Take-Two might follow in the footsteps of Blizzard, EA and Bethesda in selling their PC downloads directly to consumers.

"We think it's very difficult to try and attract consumers only through a wholly owned captive site," he tells us.

"That's not how consumers shop. To use an analogy that doesn't speak to our business, if you read Random House books, I presume you can get them directly through Random House, but you probably don't. You probably go to Amazon or other sites. So if you have something incredibly powerful, then I suppose you can say to consumers that it's only available here. But generally speaking, when it comes to broad-based entertainment offerings, you are better placed to be where the consumer is, rather than indicating to the consumer where they need to be. If your focus is solely on capturing retail margin, then you have to be very convinced you're going to be a great retailer. That's not something that's in our DNA. We make entertainment. We're really not a retailer."

As for the Epic Store: "From our point of view, we don't see another retailer as a disruption. We want to be where the consumer is, and if there's a competitive offering that benefits consumers, generally speaking, if the business model makes sense for us, we will support it. We want to be where the consumer is. We see competition on the retail side to be a good thing. It just means more distribution."

"When it comes to broad-based entertainment offerings, you are better placed to be where the consumer is, rather than indicating to the consumer where they need to be"

Speaking during a pre-brief of the company's financial results, Zelnick also welcomes to arrival of potential news consoles and platforms. "Our creative teams always want to work with advanced technology and push the envelope creatively. And additional opportunities come from new technology. It gives us a bigger canvas on which to paint. So we welcome any and all advances."

He says that although there may be some displacement from moving between one generation to the next, the pain caused by these generational transitions is becoming less of an issue.

"We didn't see the kind of disruption in the last shift that we have seen in prior disruptions," Zelnick adds. "And even in the shift before that, Take-Two had a really easy time of it. Our catalogue titles continued to sell, we had releases that crossed over from one generation to another. It's now significantly easier to develop cross-platform as technology sort-of all comes together to the same common point. You're right, from the point-of-view of dedicated consoles, there is some challenge when a new generation is launched. But with digital distribution growing, with platforms like Steam - and perhaps Epic's platform - growing, the PC format is also much more important for traditional console titles until relatively recently. All of those things, I think, will soften the challenging effect of the switch.

"I'm not trying to imply that developing for a new platform doesn't require work - it does - and I'm not suggesting that there's no dislocation. But I am observing that in the last two iterations, it did not present a problem for us. We continued to grow and we continued to succeed.:

Before the arrival of new consoles, however, Take-Two has a busy year planned, with a major unannounced title from 2K Games, plus new games from its Private Division label - Outer Worlds and Ancestors: The Human Kind Odyssey.