Take-Two CEO: Consumers Fall Out Of Love With Yearly Releases

GTA V Annual Releases

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?

Source: GameSpot

Take-Two Responds To Italian-Americans Offended By Mafia II

Mafia II, Take-Two’s newest entry in the open-world crime series comes out later this month, but it has already ruffled some feathers, according to 1UP. In what is literally straight out of a Sopranos episode, UNICO National, an Italian-American advocacy group sent the publisher a letter, stating the game is an:

“inappropriate and insulting perpetuation of the pervasive and denigrating stereotype of organized crime being the exclusive domain of Italians and Italian Americans.
“Why would [Take-Two] foist a game on their target audience of young people wherein they will indoctrinate a new generation into directly associating Italians and Italian Americans with violent, murderous, organized crime, to the exclusion of all the other ‘mafias’ run by other ethnic and racial groups,”

The spokesman for UNICO, Andre DeMint, then called for the game’s release to be delayed until all references to Italians and Italian-Americans can be purged from the game.

Take-Two’s response was matter-of-fact, pointing out that no one at UNICO has to play the game and since the it is rated M for Mature, it is specifically NOT targeted at young people. And of course there was the obligatory reference to all the great crime movies, books and TV shows over the years and games have just as much right to express themselves as any other medium.

So where do you come down on this? Personally, I can’t stand when a group gets offended by this. Just having a game about the Mafia doesn’t imply that every single Italian acts this way in real life. Just like not every Italian acts like Snooki or The Situation from Jersey Shore. What say you?

Source: 1UP

GTA IV Sales About “50-50” Between 360 and PS3

gta4Take-Two said in a press conference that sales of its mega-ultra-super-shiny juggernaut Grand Theft Auto IV (the one without the digital ding dong) were split about even between the 360 and PS3. They did not give any other specifics or release any actual numbers, but fanboys on both sides are freaking right out, while Wii fanboys wave a plastic remote in the air cause they just don’t care.

GTA IV sold 13 million copies worldwide so if they sold even down the middle on both systems, this means that more of the PS3’s installed base bought the game than the 360’s, which is odd and just a little surprising. The PS3 has sold 21.3 million worldwide and the Xbox 360 has sold 27.93 million worldwide. Maybe its due to the PS3’s demographic skewing older? Maybe people just preferred getting it on the PS3 because thats what the old GTAs were originally on? If this is accurate and Take-Two is not just having a laugh at us, it also means that Microsoft’s much vaunted exclusive DLC did not play much of a factor in people’s decision, which is even more odd. If I had a 360, I would have got it on that for the DLC. As a PS3 owner, I am still hoping it is simply a timed exclusive.

What did you buy the game on and if you have both systems, why? What do you make of this surprising news?

Source: SeekingAlpha.com