During Take-Two’s financial conference call for the fiscal year ended on March 31st, Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick was asked to talk about the company’s outlook in relation to a potential release of a new PlayStation console by Sony in 2020.
Zelnick mentioned that while he doesn’t have any ability to comment on the plans of another company (in this case Sony Interactive Entertainment), he believes that Take-Two has navigated transitions in console cycles pretty well so far, and they’re really proud of that.
Historically, during a transition period, the challenges can be very significant, but Take-Two has managed to get around them by having its labels create “the highest quality properties that defy proper behavior in console transition periods.”
Zelnick remembers that during the transition between PS3 and PS4 there was a lot of noise in the marketplace about the challenges for older games. On the other hand, Take-two wasn’t challenged in the least by this. They did “exceedingly well” because the quality of their catalog was so high.
He continued by mentioning that having a “limited number of the highest quality releases” and having games that tend to do well as catalog titles (IE: they sell well a while after release), transition periods create less risk for Take-Two. Due to the fact that the games itself are very high quality, they can continue to perform well as new platforms are released.
As an example, Grand Theft Auto V was developed for the previous generation, and yet “it remains the standard bearer for this generation,” which according to Zelnick is “extraordinary” and something that the publisher is “grateful to Rockstar for and incredibly proud of.”
Zelnick went on to say that in the event of the release of new platforms, the publisher will decide what to support based on its views of potential success, but he also observed that the PC platform has become “a very, very important” part of what the company does, driven by digital distribution. That wasn’t the case for console titles ten years ago, but it is the case now.
Zelnick concluded by explaining that the industry isn’t platform-agnostic yet, but he believes that it’s going to happen in the future.
“Does that mean that the business is flattening out, everything becomes open, and we don’t care what brand is on the box? Not in the least. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of more generations. However, it does get us closer to a point where we truly can be platform-agnostic as an industry. I would say that we’re not there yet, but that day will come.”
If you’re interested in reading more about Take-Two’s financial performance, you can also read today’s dedicated article.