Take-Two head says annualized franchises risk burn-out

Take-Two CEO Stauss Zelnick talks about the dangers of overusing franchises, and how he's "skeptical" about porting Mature titles to Wii U.


Take-Two isn't known for rushing games out the door. For example,BioShock Infinite was delayed into next year, and Grand Theft Auto 5 still doesn't have a release date. That kind of measured approach is a conscious strategy according to CEO Strauss Zelnick, who cautions against overusing franchises or jumping too deeply into new hardware.

"I don't aim to annualize our non-sports titles because I think you run the risk of burning out the consumer--even if its very high quality," Zelnick told Gamasutra. "Some of our competitors have had this trajectory where they extract a lot of value and the IP goes away. We're trying really hard to build permanent IP. And if you have to rest the title for a few years, over time you'll extract more value."

That kind of sentiment isn't necessarily shared by other publishers. Activision annualizes many of its franchises, including Call of Duty, Spider-Man, and Transformers. Ubisoft has also been releasing a new Assassin's Creed game every year.

With Wii U's release on the horizon, Zelnick spoke about how new console launches are "a terrific time to launch a new IP." However, don't expect many "mature" titles from the company to show up on Nintendo's newest console. "We haven't announced anything," he said, adding. "I'm skeptical."

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  • reply
    June 18, 2012 2:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Take-Two head says annualized franchises risk burn-out.

    Take-Two CEO Stauss Zelnick talks about the dangers of overusing franchises, and how he's "skeptical" about porting Mature titles to Wii U.

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      June 18, 2012 2:09 PM

      have they seen CoD ?

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        June 18, 2012 4:34 PM

        I think there certainly is going to be a diminishing returns for the series if they continue to do what they are doing. The drop off isn't going to be immediate but I have a feeling people will be leaving for better games. They have pretty much done or rehashed the same mechanics for 9 years.

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          June 18, 2012 4:37 PM

          Problem with COD is that it got mainstream. Like the footballs or the soccers. It'll take a lot longer than the WW2 CODs did to do that.

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            June 19, 2012 12:46 AM

            I think you're both right. There are millions who only buy FIFA/Madden and CoD. Every year. It's a rare and incredibly difficult position to secure arguably only GTA also has this slot] but isn't annualiseds but once you're there, it's Scrooge McDuck money swim time.

            That said, I think Cod lacks the football team attachment of FIFA and is therefore still definitely at risk of eventual burnout, particularly as they're shamelessly rehashing the same formula every time. By comparison, FIFA/Madden have seen massive overhauls in their lifetime.

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        June 19, 2012 4:39 AM

        CoD is like pointing to the NFL and saying that any football league will make money.

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        June 19, 2012 7:20 AM

        Did we just have an intelligent talk about the CoD franchise ???? thats pretty awesome :) guess trolls dont read into an article unless it has the keywords in the title that they are looking for lol

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      June 18, 2012 2:14 PM


      Need news. NEED NEWS.

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        June 19, 2012 8:28 AM

        GTAV will be ported to the Wii-U. It's just going to have slight modifications that make it so you actually play Mario and instead of being part of a crime syndicate you're going to be part of a mushroom koopa carnival where you play mini-games to collect happy bux and spend them to buy stars. I'm excited to see how it comes out.

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      June 18, 2012 4:35 PM

      madden is on line 2

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      June 18, 2012 8:16 PM

      I like this guy, he is willing to at least entertain the notion of comment logic.

      He is basically saying: "we are pretty sure that diving head first off a twenty story building will hurt quite a bit and might just end your life".

      Activision's approach is kind of like franchise lemmings... just dive off the edge until you crash... hopefully by the time they hit bottom, there will be new lemmings to replace the flat ones.

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        June 19, 2012 12:47 AM

        I think Zelnick is right too. Establishing more varied mega franchises is a much better way to avoid gamer burnout than grinding a single one out every single year.

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      June 19, 2012 2:02 AM

      Final Fantasy would like a world with this man.

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      June 19, 2012 7:35 AM


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