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Take-Two skeptical of Call of Duty Elite-like services

CEO has doubts about big-screen experiences on phones and tablets, says 90 percent of business still comes from packaged games; Take-Two and Rockstar franchise sales totals tallied.


Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick took the stage at the UBS Media and Communications Conference today to give investors a general overview of the company. In a post-presentation question-and-answer session, Zelnick underscored the difference between the Take-Two and Activision approaches to a hit series.

Don't expect GTAV to have a subscription-based service tied to it.
Don't expect GTAV to have a subscription-based service tied to it.

When asked about subscription-based stat-tracking services like Activision has recently embraced with Call of Duty Elite, Zelnick was hesitant to endorse them.

"I can't tell whether it's relevant yet. I'm kind of skeptical, frankly," Zelnick said. "I suspect that we want a different experience on our big screen than we do on our middle-sized screen than we do on our mobile screen, because I think we use them at different times and they mean different things. I do think an intellectual property can thread through, but only if it is really high quality."

And while Zelnick didn't name names, he was critical of certain publishers' desires to annualize hit games that don't necessarily lend themselves to new installments every year.

"If you start trying to stamp these products out annually, we don't think that's consistent with a high-quality result," Zelnick said, adding, "If you give consumers something every year like clockwork, even if it's fantastic, there's a high chance they're going to get tired of it."

Zelnick also spoke to the publisher's general approach to digital distribution, revealing that packaged goods account for 90 percent of the company's business. However, Zelnick said that's not because the publisher is particularly enamored with the retail environment; it's more a matter of where consumers have indicated they want to buy Take-Two's products.

"We want to make sure we have everything available all the time wherever the consumer is," said Zelnick. "We don't have any currency around what platform something is, nor should we."

Updated Take-Two franchise unit shipment numbers
Grand Theft Auto - 117 million
Grand Theft Auto IV (individually) - 23 million
Red Dead - 13 million
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (individually) - 2 million
LA Noire - 4 million
Midnight Club Racing - 19 million
BioShock - 9 million
Civilization - 11 million
Mafia - 5 million
Borderlands - 5 million
NBA 2K - 18 million
NBA 2K11 (individually) - 5.5 million
Carnival Games - 8 million

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