Core business not threatened by emerging platforms, says Take-Two

COO Karl Slatoff says mobile, social, and online games have largely been "very casual experiences" thus far, though this is expected to change over time.


Take-Two Interactive believes emerging platforms like mobile, social, and online do not pose much of a threat to its core gaming business, at least not yet. Speaking this week during the Wedbush Transformational Technologies Conference, chief operating officer Karl Slatoff said the reason for this is such experiences thus far have been "very casual."

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"It's worth noting here, there's been a lot of discussion about these emerging platforms and whether or not they've cannibalized the core gaming business and their effect on the core gaming piece. We don't believe that's the case at all; certainly not up to this point," Slatoff said. "And the reason being most of these experiences are very casual experiences."

Slatoff said Take-Two prides itself in creating "highly compelling, immersive experiences" for core gamers. These mobile, social, and online games have not yet been capable to deliver those kinds of experiences, though they do serve as a means to introduce new gamers to core experiences, he said.

"We see it really more as expanding the audience for video gaming in general and hopefully the folks who've gotten into video gaming for the first time via these platforms will migrate up into a more core gaming audience," he said.

At the same time, Slatoff said products for these emerging platforms are likely to become deeper and more engaging experiences as technology evolves. He argued Take-Two is preparing itself for this future by investing in these markets and meeting gamers wherever they are.

"That being said, we fully expect that these platforms are going to become more sophisticated over time," Slatoff said. "Which is why we're actually investing quite a bit in making that we have games releasing on these platforms and we're monetizing them as best we can now because they will become more sophisticated. And if core gamers want to play on these platforms, we will be there and we'll be ready to do that."

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Avatar image for jsmoke03

i actually don't see either business models helping each other out unless developers make money for both. a person that plays mobile games like 50 year old females will not be convinced to buy a ps3 or a 360 for herself based on her mobile gaming experience.core gaming does not convert people to start playing mobile games necessarily other than a casual gaming distraction from waiting in airports and such.

Avatar image for TigusVidiks

the thing I feel we should take notice, is that at least so far the 2 markets are not overlaping, casual games get to a completely different audience than hard-core games. However, in recent years we all have been hearing the console companies(Sony, Nintendo,MS) and some of the biggest AAA game publishers like EA, Activision or Square state that the future of games is the social features, the goal is to reach to more users. Pure greed. There is enough diversity of tastes among gamers to ensure that both casual gamers on mobiles and hard-core on PC or consoles all can turn a profit to the companies. But if they manage to slowly convince and convert the hard-core gamers to accept less complicated, more casual games, they would be sitting in a gold mine. They could please all with 1 product, maximizing profits.
So, those companies are pushing for the social(online) component in all it's games. They want us to change our priorities in terms of what we like to see in games. They want us to accept that the best in games is being able to interact with other gamers. Entire games are being made based solely on the interaction and coop. And this is a fundamentally casual thing. Those are the features that the 50 years old woman you were talking about, likes.
So, now, for the next generation of consoles, weare going to get a social hub more than an actual powerful computer optimized for games.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld

@TigusVidiks @jsmoke03 Great posts and info above.

I read a couple articles over at GameINdustry and Polygon last year that shined alot more light on the changing market of gaming. First off this form of entertainment is growing, in every market, in every country, gaming is only getting bigger and more money is spilling into it. There is no future of it dieing and poor world wide economy is having no effect. - But what is changing is where all the money is going.

While the American gaming market is still the 800lb gorilla in the room, there are plenty of other animals popping up all around the globe and ignoring them would be 'game over'. EU, South america, china, all asian markets, AU, even parts of the middle east are growing huge with this hobby. Girls are gaming more as they are asking for less dolls and more consoles and Ipads. As we grow older gamers are watching less TV and log more hours gaming then seeing the next reality TV show. What really killed the CD's and DVD's were games, kids asked for GTA, instead of the next boy band. Why all this info - well it is to help explain what the game industry hopes, plans, and is actually going to do.

You know some of the best selling games were CARS, and Harry potter during the playstation 1 and 2 era. That is right some chitty movie tie in with zero budget, and besides TM licensing, almost all profit. The wii, costs little to make sold great (horrible tie rate) but still a cash maker. All of the SAW movies, Scary Movies, Blair Witch- see the pattern. Publishers and many developers do not want to make Skyrim, GTA, Heavy Rain, they want to make the above CARS with little effort and resources and tons of easy cash without the work. There in lies mobile -

Publishers are chasing that fast cash no effort market - casual games. They saw some brilliant pioneers who made millions off of early popular mobile games and like 49's started chasing the gold. Publishers simply do not want to give us gamers awesome games, they want to give us the minimal amount that will get you to give up your hard earned dollars with the least amount of effort possible. The market sways with the wind or which ever way the dollar is blowing: Mobile, MMO, casual, motion control, 3d, DLC, MP, and or whatever fad that was popular at the time. A good story, good idea, good gameplay are the lowest there is- if you want the truth.

There is one very bright note. The hardcore gamers, the heatseekers still luckily control a large part of the gaming market and the compass needle always points in their direction. They are not the most profitable by far, but if you make a good game, a good IP, it will sale. Maybe not well but you will make your money back, usually. When young kids, friends, peers see their uncle, older brother, etc playing MW3- they do not want the next harry potter game they want to play that kinda game. So we the need to start pointing our dollars toward quality titles, not fluff games with tons of DLC. We need to show publishers we have zero tolerance for RE6's, 100th WoW clones, all useless motion control devices, horrible ports, and half done movie tie ins.

Mobile games have their place, just as pc, console, etc - but what we need is quality and plenty of it. LIke movies we will get alot of crap but every once and a while Avengers, or an Unforgiven will come along.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld

@TigusVidiks @jenovaschilld @jsmoke03 Your right, already game information has to be given in tiny little bites, All publishers are instructed to write any kind of information to the player as if it were a instant message. The time allowed for character development will simply have to be squeezed in to the time frame given to most youtube skateboard videos.

The dumber America gets, the more dumbed down our games will have to be. From violent video games causes school shootings preached by the NRA, to Donald Trump requesting the President of the United States of Americas long form birth certificate. I fear 5 years from now all games will have a overly masculine 'dude' quoting the bro code, while duel wielding bazookas put in every game to replace the father figure so many young boys do not have or whois fathers are too busy putting on skinny jeans and makeup, which is okay- it is make up for men.

Of course this may be just us who are growing old and sick of seeing Aliens build the pyramids on the History channel, and the fact that as we age we naturally become more jaded. But things may not be all bad, 5 years game will probably be just fine, After all I still have friends who thought/think video games would be ruined after voice acting, full motioned videos, rumble in the gamepads, and autosaves.- but games still lived.

Avatar image for TigusVidiks

@jenovaschilld @TigusVidiks @jsmoke03 I agree entirely. And I agree that for now, the market is still defined by the hardcore gamers. Mostly, because it's them that care enough to buy the games in release day, paying full price for a "Beta" product more often than not. It's the hardcore gamers that take the time to go inside the companies forums and provide feedback. It's them that actually form The opinion, when they post their likes and dislikes on a game on the internet, and get read by millions of casual gamers looking for info.
But like you said, it's a changing market, and I can't be sure the context will be the same 5 years from now. Truth is, the younger generations have been formed in gaming already with those social features in place, rendering them more susceptible to "casualization."
And honestly, I think it's already starting to show.

Avatar image for Chaos_Dante_456

@Imperiacommando what if you're on the toilet?

Avatar image for vivalatour

I am easy to please , just give me a good quality all around "single player" game and there you go ! as for many others that believe "hard core" is NOT online multiplayer gaming and nobody should even believe it is , because if you do you're just a KIDding yourself !

C'mon R* do your thing just don't get caught !

Avatar image for vicsrealms

Too bad they don't consider PC gamers part of their core-game group until six months to a year (or never in the case of RDR) after the games have hit consoles.

Avatar image for abhisheknerdy20

@Imperiacommando GTA V?

Avatar image for deactivated-597794cd74015

@Imperiacommando Angry Birds ? :)

Avatar image for grasshopper6

I hope they release GTA V on next gen consoles maybe in jan 14 or so

Avatar image for abhisheknerdy20

@grasshopper6 R* already said that they have no plan for Next Gen consoles for GTA V

Avatar image for Scorpion1813

As long as it doesn't distract from real games, I have no problem. I trust Rockstar / Taek-Two (the only games developers that I do).

Avatar image for mattress805

These statements above are why this is one of the best video game companies around, and is run by highly intelligent individuals.

Avatar image for SavoyPrime

I'm only into gaming on my console. Just not big on social gaming or even games on my iPhone. I guess I just prefer the experience that playing console games provides.

Avatar image for zhurnivuurg

I don't fully believe that many people who only play facebook or phone games are going to go out and buy game consoles in the coming years. The type of gamer is totally different. Many of these casual games are simply something to pass the time with, and the people who just play those types of games don't usually identify themselves as gamers either.

Some people are drawn to core gaming. It is in their natures to enjoy dedicating hours out of their days to play deep and engaging games, and it is in their natures to spend hundreds of dollars per year to acquire more of those games. One cannot be trained, eased, or baited into that lifestyle. They choose it as a result of their own predisposition toward such things. In short, he is correct to identify the casuals and the cores as two separate types of gamer, but he is incorrect to believe that casual games are a gateway into core games.

Avatar image for mastertien123

So this is your best creation ? Then you guy sucks :)) If anything best , in my opinion , have to be Crysis Warhead :3

Avatar image for DaRkL3AD3R

The day R* closes their doors and stops making AAA Grand Theft Auto games is the day video gaming is dead to me.

Avatar image for soeppel

Sometimes stating the obvious can be important. Especially when the obvious isn't so obvious to a few, like say certain gaming journalists.

I'm sick of reading speculative articles about the demise of the gaming industry and how all games in the future will be played on an iPad.

Avatar image for lanasrj

makes sense to me

Avatar image for berserker66666

Here's EA's customer service, courtesy of imgur. The chat is between EA's customer service and some guy.

Avatar image for TrueGB

Oh, it's a threat all right. The NES wasn't exactly chock full of deep gaming experiences when it first appeared. Look where it went from there. And I'm pretty sure mobiles are far more powerful than an NES.

Avatar image for Apastron

I'd like to say I agree...

I agree.

Avatar image for gatsbythepig

5 enormous quotes stating what all of us already know... great

Avatar image for surppo

I think console gaming and mobile gaming are aimed at different audiences plain and simple. Its like this, people who would never ever had bought a console to play videogames will play a mobile or facebook game. Of course the market for people who use cell phones and facebook is bigger than the people who buy consoles and pc gaming rigs. That doesnt mean those people will want the same type of games that consoles offer. So to confuse the two markets or so say that casual gaming is stealing away console gamers is false. What I think is happening is that execs who dont play either sees the market as the same and try to push away from consoles to mobile or casual games based on misled information.

Avatar image for 3v1LR0n1N

take-two has been an awesome company since I can remember, and to this day they remain classy as a game company..... and they own rockstar :D

Avatar image for strongmokus

I'm very impressed!

Avatar image for MoronGotMyName

Take-Two is a reasonable company that it's easy to like, I wish Bioware was with them instead. And I am really looking forward to Bioshock Infinite.

Avatar image for gamingnerd121

Well, since mobile gaming has already hurt core games (Dead Space 3 anyone?) I think it's very possible. But then again, that's EA trying to gather another audience not interested.

Avatar image for Monsta1217

seems to me like i'll be throwing my money at R* & take two for years to come if they keep this domination of great games up & they actually get it, & aren't money Hungry "Quality over Quantity"

Avatar image for cavs25

It seems like Take Two and Rockstar are some of the few that "get it"

Avatar image for hystavito

@cavs25 Maybe, we'll see how much they stick to their principles in a few years :).