Today, during Take-two financial conference call for investors and analysts, the company’s executive team talked about the prospects for the next generation of consoles, Google Stadia and more.
Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick mentioned that the last console cycle had no negative effect on Take-Two and not much on the industry in general, as the platform business has diversified and the PC format that has become all-digital has transformed the business, it has become 40-50% of a console release if and that will continue to grow. He added that the publisher expects the next console generation will be a “significant net positive.”
On top of that, we also hear that “core console and PC business is continuing to grow at a record clip.”
Later in the call, President Karl Slatoff mentioned that moving from the late part of a generation to the beginning of the new one is historicallly “not necessarily a huge leap.” Re-releasing pre-existing games or creating sequels early on in a generation, while it still presents some technical challenges, developers aren’t necessarily taking advantage of everything the new generation has to often, so it’s not as disruptive as one may think. It also offers an opportunity to do something more compared to the original game, since just porting the game over isn’t necessarily going to generate much buzz.
On top of that, since next-gen platforms are going to have backward compatible, simple straight ports aren’t going to resonate with customers.
Speaking of Google Stadia, Zelnick mentioned that porting games to it the platform relatively seamless, with some minor challenges that are “Nothing that we can’t surmount.”
“We are supportive of Stadia, we feel really good about that release. We’ve always said that we want to distinguish our distribution technology with the business model, and the business model that we’re using is one that is tried and true which is downloading and sale, and streaming for sale. There is not a lot of friction to make the games available. Google has been extremely helpful. We feel very good about the opportunity.
Remains to be seen how the platform works. They’re awfully talented and very very committed, so fingers crossed that it meets and exceeds consumers expectations.”
Interestingly, Zelnick was also asked whether the publisher would consider splitting the offline and online portions of their games and distributing them separately. Zelnick mentioned that Take-Two is not a “rules-based” organization so they would consider anything that is good for the consumer, but the metrics around free-to-play games are very different from those of a console release. It’s nice to deliver something that is such high quality that consumers are prepared to pay an entry price and then will stay engaged with its online portion that could look a lot like a free-to-play title.
“By tethering with the initial release we pre-qualify the consumer and the economics are vastly more powerful. We’re open-minded about any business model, but I think our current business model is very receptive to the needs of consumers and also speaks to the needs of the producing organization and our creative folks.
Whenever you’re trying to assess whether a particular business model works for entertainment, look for that intersection of what’s good first and foremost for the consumer, and then secondly, what’s good for the producer and the distributor. You’ll have to find the sweet spot that encompasses both of those things, or you’ll have an unstable environment, that either can’t support the consumer or can’t support the producer and distributor.”
If you want to read more about Take-Two’s quarterly performance, you can read our dedicated article.