Take Two feels like it should focus on entertainment, not on “being a retailer”.
There’s been a fair bit of controversy surrounding alternate launchers for the PC gaming market of late. We have Epic Games Store soliciting exclusives, we have companies like Discord with their own games launchers and stores, while publishers like Bethesda and Activision are moving their games away from Steam to their own in house launchers.
Given that Take-Two Interactive has some of the biggest and most popular games on the market thanks to Red Dead and Grand Theft Auto, would we expect them to follow in these footsteps? Would they, too, have their own PC gaming launcher, so they don’t have to split revenue with Valve or Epic or whoever? According to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, the answer is a resounding no. Speaking to GamesIndustry, Zelnick said that a “captive” retail business is not in line with Take-Two’s strategy.
“That’s not how consumers shop,” he said. “To use an analogy that doesn’t speak to our business, if you read Random House books, I presume you can get them directly through Random House, but you probably don’t. You probably go to Amazon or other sites. So if you have something incredibly powerful, then I suppose you can say to consumers that it’s only available here. But generally speaking, when it comes to broad-based entertainment offerings, you are better placed to be where the consumer is, rather than indicating to the consumer where they need to be. If your focus is solely on capturing retail margin, then you have to be very convinced you’re going to be a great retailer. That’s not something that’s in our DNA. We make entertainment. We’re really not a retailer.”
Speaking specifically about the Epic Games Store, he was noncommittal, noting that his company was more interested in being wherever the customer ends up being, whether that happens to be the Epic Games Store, or otherwise.
“From our point of view, we don’t see another retailer as a disruption,” said Zelnick. “We want to be where the consumer is, and if there’s a competitive offering that benefits consumers, generally speaking, if the business model makes sense for us, we will support it. We want to be where the consumer is. We see competition on the retail side to be a good thing. It just means more distribution.”
It’s honestly the smartest thing to do—keep your options open, don’t rule anything out, and don’t risk alienating a large market by putting your games on your own launcher. Fans of Take-Two’s PC franchises such as Civilization or XCOM have nothing to fear, it seems.