Take Two, and all of its subsidiaries and labels – including 2K Games and Rockstar – have been unusually good about not exploiting their users with DLC or microtransactions. While other AAA publishers have moved towards selling content piecemeal, often even holding it hostage behind RNG that you have to pay for, Take Two games have fair DLC, and minimal microtransactions- even something like GTA: Online can be played without ever having to buy a single thing with real world money.
Speaking at the Cowen and Company 45th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference [via Gamespot] today, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said that this is done on purpose. “You can’t give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there’s no business model in that,” he admitted. “But we’re not trying to optimize the monetiziation of everything we do to the nth degree. My concern is, if you do that, the consumer knows. They might not even know that they know, but they feel it.
“Think about it anecdotally–when you paid a little too much for something, even if it was something really good, it really irks you. Paying too much for something bad is even worse. Paying too much for something really good, even if you can afford it, just leaves you with a bad feeling. We don’t want our consumers to ever feel that way.”
According to Zelnick, it is most important to ensure that the customer is kept happy, and that they spend money because they want to, not because they are compelled to. “We are convinced that we are probably from an industry view undermonetizing on a per-user basis. There is wood to chop because I think we can do more, and we can do more without interfering with our strategy of being the most creative and our ethical approach, which is delighting consumers. We’re not going to grab the last nickel.”
Given the insane, unending success of GTA: Online, I’m going tok go out on a limb and say he’s on to something here. Go figure.