Current Take Two CEO is not interested in free to play games, which is not really a surprise. Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two Interactive CEO, had a talk at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference today. The Grand Theft Auto boss talked about how a very large majority, up to 97% of consumers, don’t pay for anything in a free to play game. Instead, only about 3-5% do. Meanwhile he shared that 100% of people who play Take Two titles, such as Borderlands 2 and Grand Theft Auto V, pay the company something. This income is mostly through the purchase of the game itself, with additional money afterwards on things such as DLC in Borderlands. Speaking about Zynga, he believes their success for a time was founded on the fact that they faced no acquisition fees with Facebook. An acquisition fee is a term mostly used for obtaining car leases and is an additional cost. It is a payment to the bank for administrative fees for processing the lease request. In this context, it is most likely referring to how Zynga now has to negotiate terms with Facebook when publishing a game through the popular website. Tom Bollich in an interview with The Guardian talked about how he would choose grappling with government bureaucracy over Facebook. He left Zynga in 2010 to pursue legalizing marijuana.
Speaking on the quality of free to play games, Zelnick believe a majority aren’t very good. They don’t provide the engagement found in Take Two’s titles, and also lack the high quality. Zelnick says that the latter factor is the biggest one. He states that, “And I’ve never seen an entertainment company–ever, ever, ever–succeed that didn’t have a stated strategy of making high quality content. Not everyone can actually achieve it, but you need to at least try.” Because the free to play market is full of one hit wonders and not consistent successes, he is hesitant about entering the market. He does admit the potential there for profit, but states that the technology of mobile devices needs to advance before Take Two starts to develop mobile games. He brings up Moore’s law, which states that the amount of transistors in dense circuits doubles every two years. This goes along with the trend of technology increasing at a rapid pace year over year. An example would be Apple’s iPhone hardware, which increases every single year, making the model two years beforehand seemingly obsolete. Zelnick said that once smartphones catch up to the potential of current consoles Take Two will begin to enter that particular market. Take Two has games available on mobile devices, the most recognizable would be Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on iPad. However there are currently no free to play titles available from Take Two, and Zelnicks statements mean that there won’t be any for quite some time.