GTA 5 parent company: Our competitors think about money first, but we don't

CEO Strauss Zelnick says when you create compelling content, people will flock to it.

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A determined effort to prioritize creating compelling content over an ambition to make money has allowed Grand Theft Auto V parent publisher Take-Two Interactive to thrive, according to CEO Strauss Zelnick. Speaking today as part of the Credit Suisse 2013 Annual Technology Conference, the executive said if you create content people love, they will flock to it and pay you for it.

"I have always been a believer in every entertainment business I've been in, that if you start by making consumers really, really happy, there's always an option to make money on that basis," Zelnick said. "Many of our competitors really do think first about monetization and second about what they supply; we think first about what we're supplying and second about monetization."

Zelnick previously served as president and CEO of music publisher BMG Entertainment. He has also worked in executive roles at Crystal Dynamics, 20th Century Fox, and Columbia Pictures.

In the case of Grand Theft Auto Online, which features microtransactions for the first time in the series, Zelnick said the extra items players can buy with real money are intended to "enhance" the experience and should not be seen as anything more.

"We've announced that we've sold-in over 29 million units of the title. I feel like we've gotten well paid for our efforts. Our focus with GTA Online is to delight consumers," Zelnick said. "The goods that we're selling in the game are intended to enhance the experience first and foremost; we are charging money for them, but the way we do business at Take-Two is first and foremost driven by this desire to delight consumers. That's why we have the highest Metacritic rating in the business for the past five years. And not just because we're altruistic and we love doing it. By the way, we really do love doing it; we're passionate about it."

Overall, Zelnick admitted that Take-Two has much to learn about microtransactions in online games and how best to support a digital economy at a massive scale.

"We're new to this business. Unlike some of our competitors, we are new to it and we're not afraid to be honest about that," Zelnick said. "We didn't build a massive infrastructure in advance of GTA Online. We had some glitches along the way as a result. As a result we kept the costs extraordinarily low as we explored this new marketplace."

Discussion

238 comments
biggestnewb
biggestnewb

i hate how companies try to hide their greed by making statements such as "micro-transactions are there to enhance the playing experience, nothing more". no, you're just greedy fucks. simple as that. just as every other gaming company adds micro-transactions to their games.


overall this game is decent, but can get pretty boring quickly.

ndmq
ndmq

That...combine with hundred of millions in marketing, and the power of the brand. But GTA brand got so massive that they don't need to spend much $ in marketing as fans are doing it for free.

Gen007
Gen007

Amen. I really don't get why more companies dont follow this mentality i mean look at the most recent offender EA. Everyone knows dice wanted more time for BF4 and EA denied them look at what happened. This decision of course made to supposedly make more money but look at them now. BF4 is under performing BF3 and EA's stock is taking a major hit. Its like why though? why not just take a little extra time and a little extra money to get it right and release a great game that will continue to be a cash cow for months and months maybe years? It's sad that the greed is becoming self destructive i mean all they have to do is make great games and the money will follow R* understands that. I mean at some point it just has to be about making a great product and not just about satisfying stock holders and paying bonuses.

alexfrica
alexfrica

you must be a complete moron a failure of life if you think gta v is good 

1234ritchie
1234ritchie

CEO Strauss Zelnick says when you create compelling HYPE, people will flock to it.*fixed*

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

So now I know they dumbed down the franchise making it more attractive to the unskilled gamer as to appeal and capture the casual market and raise sales considerably because they weren't interested in money.  

That makes plenty of sense.  

kage_53
kage_53

What a bunch of liars. 2K Sports is owned by the same company Rockstar is owned by. In 2K14 you are pretty much forced to buy virtual currency to upgrade myplayer attrubutes, get myteam players and in some cases complete the owners goals in  mygm. Grinding virtual currency takes forever.

001011000101101
001011000101101

Wait... WAIT! So if you make something good people will like it?

WAIT!!!

So if you work towards making something good and not just something you hope will make a lot of money, there's a higher chance of success? 

Wow... my mind. It has been blown.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

i like take two as a company.....i havent been dissapointed with their games yet.

Trender_man
Trender_man

Take-Two Interactive : we're better than Activision and EA.

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

Not playing GTA V anymore. Online was just so tedious and boring. There's no real drive or hook that keeps me going. And everything is too expensive to be worth the time investment.

Gopstop2222
Gopstop2222

 microtransaction means a shit just becuz its there does not mean they care only money its small thing you can buy gta V cash so what? you can get them easy anyway its not like other games what is all about  microtransaction and pay to win

jackxsolomon
jackxsolomon

I myself haven't used the online microtransaction at all and have had some of my greatest times on gta online. The story was short but it was new to R* as well. Some of the best come from online like the YouTube spoofs people post like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDyFxxNwtXw

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

Gta 5 was a huge cash grab. Notice the campaign feels super short and the story feels severely under developed? Notice how the game forces casual gamer friendly gimmicks on us like hit markers and there is no option to turn them off? Seeing the entire game flash with a little x every time I fatally shoot somebody made GTA 5 combat feel cheap. You cant even turn off the cinematic score in options. Maybe if all the idiots didn't pre order GTA5, R* would of had more incentive to fully complete it.

tightwad34
tightwad34

It's O.K. to say you care about money, just don't be materialistic douches or gold digging bitches. Plus it's Rockstar, so pretty much no matter what their games are going to sell like hotcakes.

Pooyagharagozlo
Pooyagharagozlo

every company cares about money first.  It's  political business and everybody knows that. consumers aren't idiot

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

Zelnick acts like he's pushing indie games or something. AAA games are going to have certain things like online modes, micro transactions etc. Of course they're thinking about money first. Some only try to cheat gamers, but others understand that quality content can sell even better and further increase brand loyalty. Either way, it's about money. 

If it wasn't about money, why not call us gamers or people? We're just consumers, because all we mean are $$$. 

DESTROYRS_F8
DESTROYRS_F8

Well, it's also flocking lawsuits for the "likeness" of character models in the game.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Of course he cares about money! Not once does he state he doesn't give a crap about how much money they rake in! There isn't a company in the world that could exist without someone watching the bank balance and how much is constantly going into it. Everyone grow up!

All he's saying (and he's being quite blunt about it) is he believes the best way to make money is to make your customers happy. Frankly I find it refreshing to hear it being said by a company who's track record supports this. Yes they've had problems, but nobody's perfect and they've worked quickly to put things right. If you're still not happy with it then I can only suggest you go find a very quiet, very dark corner of the world where there is as little as possible that can disappoint you.

jaoman9
jaoman9

no you think about money first thats why gtao is still a bugged out POS and missing over half of the fetures like heists so you can make DLC and patching it so we cant make money from missions so we have to buy micro transactions to get even the simplest things in game

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

These CEO business types never cease to amaze me. Bunch of asshole liars and two faced scum. You absolutely care about money. God damn can no one tell the truth anymore?

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Ah, you claim you're better than other devs and don't care about money first, right?  That's why there are no microtransactions in GTA Online, right?

Oh.....

Gamer3344
Gamer3344

I call bullshit, every company cares about money first. Why they put microtransactions in GTAV then? Why they didn't release PC version simultaneously? It's all bussines!

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

My biggest issue with the Online isn't the transactions, its the lack of anything to do.

Got GTA this past weekend, put some solid hours into the single player, but after spending some time and most of yesterday afternoon rolling around the online, I still don't understand it. No one plays the missions, and you cant really do anything fun because everything costs too much. Kinda pointless :|

Also lets face it, they're bound to charge for the Heist DLC when that finally comes out...

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

Yes you do. We know what you mean, but yes you do. This is a business you guys run.

troyo90
troyo90

I think it's a GREAT game... I must really be a failure. fml

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

@wizardboyus  

This is besides the point of the article but in response to what you said, if they do this i hope it's a true return to Max's story and not some other random scenario he happens to find himself in that brings back memories of his past as they did in part 3 which i don't actually consider a true part 3 to his story as it was so detached and far off from the true Max Payne made in the 1st 2 games!! Overall awesome game with cool gameplay but disappointing to any true Max Payne fan!

vorodill
vorodill

@1234ritchie Rockstar did not hype the game. They released a few trailers, did a few interview (very few compared to the rest of the industry) and that was it. The fans hyped the game. The gaming journalists hyped the game. And the game wasn't even on the E3 floor.

gunnplay
gunnplay

@Centurion-Legio 'Cause they'd be out of buisness in a day?  We can be angry for not getting quality but, it's just arrogant if you have a problem with people making money.  You make money, why don't you go work for free?  

 If that's not what you're saying, then clarify please.

Llama345
Llama345

@kage_53 And you are the their target. If you enjoy something then spend money on it. I just wouldn't spend too much time on those modes. 2k13 didn't seem too terrible with grinding. 

Llama345
Llama345

@001011000101101 … Just look at the current state of video games where sequel after sequel are getting pumped out. You would think that studios would try to make a better product, but they are just trying to push things that will sell. 

Gopstop2222
Gopstop2222

@Gazdakka haha lol get level 36 and do a mission in 3mins where u get 12k farm for few hours and u gonna get best apartament and your car personal

Radnen
Radnen

@PS2fweak I agree, also I think it's the very fact they made GTA-V that they are doing this for money. It's always harder to construct and sell a new IP. So right off the bat they had that going for them. Needless to say, RDR didn't sell as much (even though it's a distant sequel to a far earlier RD game). To truly put the 'content over money' hypothesis to the test; they should make a new IP, make it an excellent game experience and then watch it outdo CoD, GTAV, and Skyrim. All of which are longstanding sequels in moneymaking IP's.

lingling1211
lingling1211

@snacky_smorez I think the title of this article is a bit misleading, I think he cares about money but what hes trying to get across is that the company's mentality is to create a great product first, because great product = more money, where as other companies focuses more on money and strategies on how to squeeze more money out of consumer's pockets with the likes of "Day 1 DLC" and yearly releases.

olympiooly
olympiooly

@Viral-venom13 @wizardboyus Actually, overall Max Payne 3 was *not* awesome. I fucking hated that game. 1 & 2 had such an insanely cool noire feel with fourth wall breaking stuff that just drove the chills home.


MP3 was boring crap. God those cutscenes.

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

I've already been soloing Survival for $20k each time. But the game is just so damn boring. Apartments aren't interesting beyond merely storing your garage and bed, and any real car costs well over half a million. I don't want to grind out say, 50 missions for $600,000 just for a damn car.


I honestly expected more from GTA V: It's a bit of a role-playing adventure game, yet its multiplayer boils down to shoot em' up or race. Now that was fine with a unique setting like Red Dead Redemption, but I really wanted GTA V to be a little more than that. Unfortunately, the community didn't agree.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@001011000101101 @Dredcrumb9 you are probably one of the dumbies who pre orders games. yea, anyone who criticizes GTa 5 and doesn't follow the GTA5 hype train is just DUMB! Actually, I am a huge fan of the gta series, I will critique it if it has flaws.

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

@001011000101101 Emm, wrong.  This is actually a pretty smart statement, from a thinking gamer, aware of the current trends in the gaming industry.  

Blindly and unconditionally accepting all of it is really the "Dumbest fucking" thing to do. The franchise was severely dumbed down, that's a fact.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@Llama345 @jagcivtec @001011000101101 There is still no reason why Gta 5 should force screen flashing hit markers, they shouldn't force training wheels on everyone. It really hurts the game for me. I am epileptic, and it gives me seizures. I even have friends who are not epileptic that hate the hit markers in gta5 because they ruin immersion and make combat feel cheap.

peddes
peddes

@jagcivtec


Perhaps you should check the meaning of "dumbed down".......


It is important to know what a statement or word means before you use it

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

@peddes No I'm not implying that, you just did.  Anybody may like and prefer any entry they find best.  Mine personally is GTASA.  

All I'm saying is the series has been dumbed down, everybody knows it, it can't be denied, if some people think that makes it better fine, others think bad of it fine, but the hard truth is that it was dumbed down.  Google the definition, or just read my reply to Llama345 here.

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

@Llama345 Why combat of all things?  GTA is a game with many mechanics, not just combat, so I personally think some of them were dumbed down, specially driving which is the main mecahnic, no less.  The game does have awesome features, like the setting, but the general rule that R* applied was that of making the game easier with many little elements as to able the achievement of victory with reduced skill requirement.  That is the definition of dumbed down.

peddes
peddes

@jagcivtec @001011000101101 

"Dumbed down", so your implying that any person who likes the game as it is and prefers it over previous GTA games is a dumber gamer than you are?

That is a pretty arrogant statement, perhaps consider revising statements like that in the future so you do not come off quite as arrogant.......

Llama345
Llama345

@jagcivtec @001011000101101 The game is awesome. Since when did anyone ever say 'oh boy check out the combat in gta, that shit is ground breaking.' Never. I don't know what you were expecting but I got exactly what I wanted out of the new installment.