Zelnick stated that the company’s main aim is to create entertainment, and making money comes second.
Take-Two has drawn quite a bit of flak for how they implemented microtransactions in NBA 2K18 which drew backlash for blocking off many cosmetic items behind Virtual Currency. The reason that the last entry in the series received backlash was because many cosmetic items were free in previous installments.
Furthermore, using Virtual Currency also made it easier to progress in the game which many players felt was unfair. While the publisher did end up making changes to how these microtransactions were used, it was already too late because the game had gained a bad reputation. Regarding the feedback from consumers, Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick said to Gameinformer that, “Unquestionably we pay attention to consumer response because we’re so focused on engaging and captivating and entertaining the consumer. Any time we get feedback that is anything less than 1000 percent positive, we stop and say, what should we do differently? I think there’s a small sliver of the consumer base that basically wants everything for free, we can’t really help those people. I think most consumers just want a fair deal and we do think that part of a fair deal is, you know when you get the check at the end of the meal, it’s not enough that the food tasted good, it has to be a fair deal for what you got. So we’re very focused on it being more than a fair deal, we want to give consumers much more than they paid for.”
Furthermore, he went on to discuss how their main aim is to create entertainment, and that making money is only a second priority. He stated, “We do learn every time and we have to balance monetization with the experience. In our case, we sort of all regrouped and said, wait, let’s remind ourselves that we’re in the business of creating the best entertainment on Earth, across all types of entertainment. We’re focused on engaging and captivating consumers. If we do that right and that’s our entire focus, the revenues and the profits will probably take care of themselves, so let’s not overemphasize those. So I’m asking questions now like does big data and having lots of data scientists on your team allow you to enhance your monetization? And the answer is, technically I suppose that would be the case, but are you a monetization company or are you an entertainment company? We’re an entertainment company and when we get that right, everything else flows from it.”
Of course, this still doesn’t give us a clear idea of what role microtransactions will play in the upcoming NBA 2K19 which is set to release for the PS4, PC, Nintend0 Switch, and Xbox One on September 11. Hopefully we’ll get to know more soon enough.