‘It’s the kiss of death.’
Rockstar may rely on its flagship Grand Theft Auto franchise more than it relies on anything else, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t branch out to try other, different games and experimentations with new IP. Apart from Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar has also dabbled with games as varied as Red Dead, Max Payne, Bully, Manhunt, The Warriors, State of Emergency, and Table Tennis.
It seems that dabbling with new IP is something ingrained into the very structure of the company, as during a presentation to investors on Thursday, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said 50 percent of the company’s efforts should always be focused on the creation of brand-new franchises.
“We love putting out titles where we’ve got history, and they’re really, really big titles. Because they’re safe and they’re predictable and you know you can generate a lot of cash flow from them,” Slatoff said. “At the same time, to ignore the opportunity of creating new IP, to not dedicate a substantial portion of your resources towards developing new IP, is the kiss of death for creative franchises.
“Because forbid, one of your core IP starts to deteriorate over time, then you’re in real trouble. So how do we actually manage that to avoid that deterioration or fatigue? One is don’t come out with stuff every year,” he added.
“Unless it’s a sports title where you do come out every year. But in general, your big, core franchises; big releases every year that are hyped up as big releases is not a great way to–it may be a great way to monetize the near-term cash flow but not to make sure that franchise exists for the long-run. That’s a very important piece of it; it needs some breathing room.”
Take Two’s approach to games and the AAA model, then, sounds completely contrary to that adopted by other big name publishers such as EA, Activision, and Ubisoft. But maybe that is why Take Two’s properties have such a long life, and why a new GTA entry in 2013 can inspire so much excitement, nearly 20 years after the first game released. Maybe Take Two is on to something here.