Take-Two: console transition will leave casualties

GTA publisher CEO Strauss Zelnick predicts one or two third-party publishers will go out of business in coming years.

The upcoming console cycle will come at the cost of one or two third-party publishers, according to Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick. Speaking at the Credit Suisse 2012 Technology Conference, Zelnick said those not positioned effectively when the time comes will die out.

"If you're not capitalized for the transition, you can find out that you're not there for the transition," Zelnick said. "And historically, in every transition that's occurred in this business, one or two third-parties have gone out of business. Last time around it was Midway and a couple of others. Reasonable people can argue about which one it'll be this time. I have my own point of view, which I haven't exactly been quiet about. We make sure we're not on the list of casualties; to the contrary, we're on the list of winners."

Zelnick did not specifically name any publishers that he anticipates will not survive the transition. However, his comments alluded to his prediction in April that Saints Row and Darksiders publisher THQ would be dead in six months. Six months have passed and THQ is still in business, though the company's is not having an easy time managing.

A representative from Take-Two said Zelnick's remarks were not aimed at any one company and declined to add further details. A THQ representative had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment at press time.

Zelnick believes Take-Two will not only survive the console transition, but also prosper during this time. To succeed in the market, Zelnick said publishers must have four "key elements." These, he said, are owned intellectual property, power, technology, and a "very strong" financial footing. The executive claimed Take-Two is either "competitive" or has the "best in the business" for each category.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about Grand Theft Auto V?

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Follow

Discussion

176 comments
SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

After a while, the only 3rd-party publishers that will be around in my opinion are Take-Two, EA, Activision, and Ubisoft. Out of all of those, Take-Two and Ubisoft are the only ones I would sign under if I was a developer.

jackrg
jackrg

anyone else hoping EA is on the list of those closing ?

dogpigfish
dogpigfish

I predict that some developers will close during this generations transition, in the same way it did 6 years ago, and 6 years before that, and 6 years before that, and I also predict the sun will come up tomorrow and go down in the evening

blackace
blackace

Well, he's right about developers/publishers going under. Companies like Midway, Hypnotix, Psygnosis, Working Design, Shiny Entertainment, Interplay, SunSoft, Jane Studios, Neversoft, Red Octane and many, many others either went under or was assimilated into other bigger publishers during the transition from one generation to the next. It will happen again.

jark888
jark888

"best in the business"  << I heard this from many big publishers. Why don't you really convince me that. Try to show that you're better than 343 Industries (Halo 4) or Naughty Dog (Uncharted 3) as examples.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Either new companies or new publishing paradigms will emerge to replace the defunct ones, which is a healthy sign of competition, or there will be fewer but larger publishers, which... Well, it'll probably be bad for me. Of course, publishing isn't development, and bigger is better for business. I'd say we should stop the trend toward consolidation, but I can offer no better alternative right now.

Ishiban
Ishiban

I'm a fan of Take Two, Rockstar in particular, but Zelnick is so full of hubris and that's dangerous.  I just hope that he doesn't become overly confident to a fault.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Well, that's the nature of business as well as most everything else. I predict there will be a lot of companies going out of business in that time.

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

I've liked Zelnick for the most part. Take-Two really has done a good job producing high quality franchises that aren't milked like crazy every year. 

steelmouth
steelmouth

we dont mind the loss of mediocre and shoddy developers

farcorners
farcorners

He is a little bit self serving here, with his, I dunno, boasting? It could be argued that the length of this current generation is causing problems with some publishers, ie the lack of a transition. I hope THQ makes it through their liquidity problems, b.t.w. I really enjoyed the creative ridiculousness of Saints Row 3.

1337hackz
1337hackz

Others will rise, Activision and EA won't take over. The fact of the matter is there will always be a market for innovative games, like Dishonored it was a huge success.

Takeno456
Takeno456

Lots of companies are sitting on the edge right now. I just hope most of them make it and that new strong core-focused companies will rise out of the ashes of those who have fallen before. If too many AAA 3rd parties die out then the Activision/EA strangle hold will get even stronger. A worse situations is that a bunch of casual-centric or free to play companies try to fill the void. I hope most core-focused companies are preparing for the transition so that all of us can avoid these situations and have a good line up of games when the next gen finally hits.

thekingofirony
thekingofirony

THQ,Sega,and Atari could all be gone this gen.along with some devs.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

and  lol you see the page to the left no pc? ya rockstar so innocent , has no faults  wrong!  they gave nintendo the shaft 3 times in a damn row

1-gta one ,  canclled for n64 god knows it would have looked alot better lol

2 gta double pack -- cancelled for gamecube  

3 they handed the worst possible gta to nintendo ---gta advance /ctw   they could have looked into driver advances play book ,   and got better graphics , 

and now they give pc the shaft , how funny 

nate1222
nate1222

After watching Square-Enix's tech demo, I can say I agree. Six months to develop...a four minute tech demo. Next gen is gonna bankrupt the console games industry.

 

All but the most powerful (read: bullyish) publishers will be destroyed. All that will remain will be extremely powerful corporations, who take NO creative risks and bully developers worse than ever, and indie devs.  The indie devs will probably do well in the digital distribution scene. But everyone else will either be destroyed or absorbed.

 

The console gaming scene is about to reach is self-destructive climax.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

and im playing san andreas right now ,where is the 7.1 audio you speak of lol

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

oh really painpas lets see evidence a- gamecube was the most powerful console of its gen last time round before this gen ---rockstar cancelled gta double pack 

and wiiu  is appearently slightly more powerful enough to run gta v 

so i dont see where you get off with that one heck they aren't even making gta v for pc and its so bad ign has a patition on their page as does vgchartz ,     so ya san andreas could have been suficant on the wii even 

driver paralel lines made it to the wii and that game looked 2x better as far as physics go ,  

as did san francsico 

id like to hear another excuse you have for rockstar? what did rockstar do instead ---give ds a 2d top down pile of garbage when gba had driver 2 and 3 on it and was 3d lol    

so ya excuse two? 

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

all the developers sony put in bankruptcy include factor 5 free radical so i think their next

Rivboets7
Rivboets7

I hope THQ doesn't go out of business.  I need a Saints Row 4!

SangheliZealotX
SangheliZealotX

Sony will probably be a casualty judging by how bad all of their games are.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

 @jark888

Its really hard not to really just bash the ever living crap out of you for trying to use halo as your comparison, but ya i dont agree either.

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

 @jark888 Fuck you talking about? They are better than both publishers combined. Play a take-two game and just look at the attention to detail they put into everything, like really look around. Not to mention the satire and humor in all of their games.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @1337hackz I think there is little risk that Bethesda will be one of the publishers left behind in the transition. I love those guys.

eriktkire
eriktkire

 @1337hackz too bad it isn't Activision and EA that are that "one or two" that would go out of business.  We'd all be better off if they went into liquidation.

painpas
painpas

 @mariokart64fan Those were cartridge based systems and the Gamecube (if you had one like I did) you know did not use standard DVDs and their disks did not hold the same amount of data as the other two consoles. Wii U should get GTA5 IF the console sells but I doubt you'll get the game before Christmas next year. 

painpas
painpas

 @nate1222 There is only one thing that can change your hypothetical outcome (which I think is quite possible). What if games became easier to develop? This would change everything from concept art drawn on a touch screen right into a gaming space. I know its a pipe dream but I think that the engine your working on will determine the "winners" this generation. I will say that for some dev teams the coming gen will be not only easier but faster to get games out the door and will be high fidelity graphically and audibly. 

painpas
painpas

 @mariokart64fan You were talking about Nintendo consoles in general. What I am saying is that their technology is not advanced enough for the play spaces that devs want to make in general. Some want to move on. Should PC get GTA5? Absolutely, as long as there is no DRM, not downloaded off steam if I buy the disc and have to keep the disc in the drive to play when I just downloaded the whole game. I digress. Look Nintendo is behind and face it. If you want to see support for the system for devs that make mature games you have to purchase games on a system that caters to that demographic. Nintendtoys need to be put in the closet at some point. Games need to mature. Stories need to affect someone if they want gaming to survive. Nintendo is about Mario, Zelda, Kong, Metroid, Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, Pokemon, Brainage, Wii Sports and Pikmin. I mean what is a mature gamer going to latch onto there unless you take the children into consideration and then you can get either a PS3 or 360 that caters to everyone.  

Vodoo
Vodoo

 @mariokart64fan Gamecube was NOT the most powerful console, the Xbox was. Gamecube was #2.

painpas
painpas

 @mariokart64fan Rockstar make big games now. Can we come to an agreement on that? I hope so. What is the size limit for games on the DS and GBA?  Can the GBA handle what Rockstar would want to deliver and not force onto the platform? Sometimes hardware is just not suited for certain games and so is the demographic. RE:R is being ported to consoles. Why do you think that is? The audience was not there for the game on the 3DS. You have to accept that certain demographics are attracted to certain consoles. I will never personally buy a Nintendo console again. Their games do not appeal to me NOW that I'm grown. I don't identify with Mario and Luigi anymore nor want to play in Nintendo Land. If you want mature content you have to leave the Nintentoys behind.  

painpas
painpas

 @mariokart64fan Their games have been influencial and have changed gaming. Also, they have numerous open world IPs... new IPs like Red Dead, La Noire, Bully etc... If anyone needs to leave it is Nintendo. No new IPs, NOW all gimmick driven consoles because they cannot compete any other way. I love Nintendo but they don't make consoles where the whole dev team can flex their muscles. Not just level design but also artists, sound designers etc... Some sound designers love 7.1 audio....

96augment
96augment

 @SangheliZealotX Have you actually played PS3 games? MGS4? Uncharted 2? Journey? Demon's Souls? God of War 3? Heavy Rain?

painpas
painpas

 @SangheliZealotX If Sony dies it is because gamers are short sighted in forecasting and analyzing the gaming industry as a whole and what is best for consumers. Sony is actually the best and most respectful to consumers. Sony may die because gamers started to hate and ramble and not look at the FACTS. However, I think that we all will miss Sony if they left way more than Sega or Nintendo. Sony gives what we want and more Nintendo just out to make money because this is their only revenue stream. Microsoft have an agenda and it still isn't clear what it is.... so......

dogpigfish
dogpigfish

@Stedmister @blackace yeah, they are in the business of sueing

jark888
jark888

 @Crush_Project I think both companies I used as examples have much better graphic. That's all. Rockstar is excellent no doubt.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

 @bubba_1988  

 well ive played rockstar and firaxis games, but i dont think take two or any of their other subsidaries have ever made a game thats made my radar.

 

I think i might try xcom, but even looking at a list of games i cant see much id normally play.  Do you have a recommendation?

Stedmister
Stedmister

 @eriktkire  @1337hackz Hoenestly if EA or Activision do go down, that's a huge drop in games in the game market, that in turn would cause issues across the board. that be 2/3 of the gaming market gone, affecting Sony, MS, and Nintendo, When big companies go poof people notice and then get nervous, it be quite similar to the recent bank problems that started with Greece and have slowly spread, with no one truly at fault. I do agree EA and Activion milk, but if one goes away it affects the whole system, also similar to an ecosystem, one goes down, it can cause a hell of alot of problems.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

 @painpas "RE:R is being ported to consoles. Why do you think that is?"

Have you seen the reviews for RE6 vs RE:R???? And, it's Capcom, they don't even need logic to find a reason to port a game from one system to another.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

 @painpas  @SangheliZealotX

 If you look at their founder and where the guy has gone to, I think it's clear what the company's agenda is, and it's not good.  The problem is when you try to tell people about it, they look at you and just call you another one of those conspiracy nuts that follow that lunatic, Alex Jones. 

 

Microsoft doesn't give a rip about gamers at all when you look at the way they run their business.  Filling the pockets of Bethesda with cash to not only put their content on 360 first, but possibly to even go as far as to sabotage the ps3 version of the game.  Let's face it.  Skyrim should be running fine on ps3.  They know the hardware inside out by now, and they still can't get the game to run right on ps3?  Give me a break.

 

Hyping up kinect even though almost all the games aren't worth a crap.  Pushing all this multimedia stuff on us and integrating it all even with pc, and then this latest crap with them patenting tech that can see you through a cam and turn your game, movie, or music off if someone enters the camera view that doesn't own a license to that media.  Not to mention all the hardware problems the original xbox and the 360 have both had.  Top that off with what they said a little while ago about it being too hard to develop new IPs this late in the game, even though Sony has developed, and is continuing to develop new IPs, and I'm still scratching my head why anybody would want to support Microsoft.

 

Sorry for the long rant.  I just feel like Microsoft really doesn't care at all about its fanbase.  Yeah, they've got Halo, and two or three other big franchises they support, but compared to Sony and Nintendo, it's minimal.  They'd rather buy exclusive rights and make things as hard as possible for Sony, rather than try and genuinely compete with good IPs of their own in a variety of genres.

 

End of rant.

SangheliZealotX
SangheliZealotX

 @bubba_1988 The first word is what sony has been doing to you with their online passes and bad exclusives.

96augment
96augment

 @psx_warrior    I have never heard of anyone blaming Microsoft for the problems Skyrim had on the PS3. Didn't Bethseda say it was their fault or something like that?

SangheliZealotX
SangheliZealotX

@Rivboets7 @bubba_1988 I mean exclusives, Microsoft cant control whether or not 3rd parties have online passes, but they can choose for their exclusives, ms chooses to not have them while $ony does.

96augment
96augment

 @Rivboets7    He really is. And if he really was a Xbox 360 lover, he would actually be playing it instead of wasting his time trolling. 

SangheliZealotX
SangheliZealotX

 @Rivboets7 You should probably get the 720 first because you don't have to worry about them running out of ps4's, you'll be the only one buying it!