GTA, Red Dead Parent Company On Microtransactions: No Toll Booths
"We only think about monetization after we've already focused on that engagement."
Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar Games and 2K Games, makes a lot of money through microtransactions. For the latest quarter, the company pulled in more than $300 million from what it calls "recurrent consumer spending." Take-Two intends to have microtransactions in every game it makes, and now the company's chief executive has shared more details on its strategy for approaching the controversial business practice.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said the company doesn't design games with a microtransaction-first mentality. Instead, Zelnick said Take-Two thinks about how to "entertain and engage" players before asking them to spend extra money.
"We only think about monetization after we've already focused on that engagement," he said. "Our approach is that we don’t believe in having toll booths. We want to create a great experience you can enjoy without regard to whether you spend or not."
Zelnick went on to say that Take-Two understands that players want to be treated fairly when it comes to microtransactions. He acknowledged that Take-Two has stumbled in the past when it comes to this, though he said other companies are more highly criticized.
"We know that, anecdotally, consumers don't just want to be entertained, they want a fair deal," he said. "We don't always get it right but I think compared to the marketplace we tend to get it right more than others. Occasionally we get criticized, but if we are we take a look at the in-game economy and make adjustments."
Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer mode for GTA V, has been a runaway success when it comes to microtransaction revenue. Despite being more than six years sold, Take-Two expects GTA Online revenue to continue to grow in the current fiscal year.
Take-Two has said it wants to have some form of a microtransaction in every game that it makes, whether that be through in-game purchases, subscriptions, add-ons, or some other means of extra sale on top of the purchase price. Take-Two also owns the Barcelona-based mobile game developer Social Point, which makes free-to-play games that are supported by microtransactions.
Take-Two is not the only company to use microtransactions. All of the major publishers--Activision, EA, Ubisoft, and others--implement microtransactions in their games. For comparison, Activision Blizzard just announced that its own microtransaction revenue reached $700 million for the latest quarter.
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