In the midst of announcing the stellar achievement that the Grand Theft Auto franchise has now shipped 125 million units, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick had a few words to say about annual franchises and why it’s not something that his company believes in:
It’s our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise.
He goes on to say that annualized IPs eventually hit a wall and return diminished sales and they don’t want the same fate for their own IPs.
Personally, this is refreshing to hear. It’s no secret that I have railed against annual releases practically every year (the irony is not lost on me, just ignored), but it is gratifying to hear it from someone who runs a respected company such as Take-Two, who are also responsible for Bioshock, Red Dead Redemption and Civilization. Even the vaunted Call of Duty franchise is starting to see chinks in the armor, despite numerous reviews praising some of the more radical changes in Black Ops 2.
Annual releases tire out the developers, weaken the fanbase and tend to (but not always) lack in any meaningful innovation. Even a two-year cycle would be more beneficial to all parties, in my view.
What say you? Does Mr. Zelnick have the right of this or should GTA go the way of Assassin’s Creed and become a yearly pasttime?