Strauss Zelnick talks about the quality of free to play versus commercial experiences.
Free to play games have always occupied an interesting position in the market. Oftentimes, they’re meant to deliver great gameplay and if consumers are enticed enough, to spend money on additional content. Other times, the micro-transactions overtake the entire gameplay model, resulting in a messy engagement that lacks any real investment (save for monetary).
Take Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick, who’s company has published several successful titles like Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption, believes there are many problems with free to play games. In speaking to GameSpot, Zelnick believes one of the major issues is the lack of engaging content.
“The other thing that’s problematic with free-to-play games is in many instances, although not all, they’re vastly less engaging. And if you look at the history of the entertainment business across all media, the only entertainment companies that really succeed over a long period of time are those that surprise and delight consumers with incredibly high quality content.
“Most free-to-play games aren’t really high quality content at the end of the day. Certain competitors in that space have stated strategies of not making high quality content. 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.”
Zelnick does see the potential in free to play even if there isn’t much interest to develop for it. “So I think the model is very different, the consumer is different, the demographic is different. There is definitely a there, there. It is not our field of great expertise.”
Sure, there have been companies like Zynga that are guilty of the above. But do you agree with Zelnick, especially since many free to play titles like Dota 2, League of Legends, Tribes: Ascend and Path of Exile provide months of entertainment? Let us know in the comments.