Take-Two Interactive details the future plans for ‘GTA Online’
Take Two Interactive’s recent earnings call was focused on the future of Grand Theft Auto V, including plans for DLC and GTA Online updates.
Take Two Interactive, the parent company for Rockstar Games, has recently discussed their plans for the future of GTA V during a fiscal earnings call for the second quarter of 2014.
Take Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick began the meeting by touching upon the game’s phenomenal commercial success:
“I think the release window for GTA 5 was phenomenal. There was an enormous installed base, massive anticipation and virtually no significant competitive releases.
“I was questioned an awful lot, you may recall, about the timing of that release, and I think Rockstar made a great decision in putting it out when they did, and really optimized the intersection of what a great game can do and what an audience wanted and when they wanted it.”
Strauss was then queried on the possibility of Grand Theft Auto Online coming to next-gen consoles, but it’s not something that the company has even discussed yet (or if they have, they’re keeping tight-lipped on the subject). Both Strauss and Take-Two president Karl Slatoff waved the need for a next-gen version, saying:
“…We haven’t discussed any plans for GTA, at all, in relating to next-generation. So nothing to say there.” Zelnick added, “it’s not as though consumers say ‘the next-gen is coming, so I have to buy this title and then I’m never going to buy it again.’ It’s not how they operate.”
Next up Zelnick was questioned on how GTA V‘s DLC will be handled, as many saw the downloadable content for GTA IV as taking too long. According to the CEO, Take Two wants to continue delivering quality content that enamors its constituency, and can do so on a more streamlined basis thanks to their findings on what consumers are looking for:
“I think the biggest difference here is that when Rockstar came out with downloadable content for GTA IV, this was groundbreaking stuff. It had never been done before. And they took a big creative risk and delighted consumers and made money in the process, so it was really a great result.”
“And we, at this company, and our labels specifically, have learned a lot about what consumers want. What we find is, when you have a hit product, there is an opportunity to continue to delight consumers with ongoing content, and that always remains our focus. Our focus around here does not start with ‘how do we look at our consumers?
“They showed up in droves. Now how do we extract more money from their pockets?’ We genuinely don’t. What we think about is, ‘the reason our consumers showed up is because we delighted them in a way they didn’t expect.’
“As high as our expectations were, we blew them out of the water and we did that because of the extraordinary creative work done at Rockstar.”
Strauss Zelnick continues to go into even greater depth on how the company plans to balance the monetization of DLC and GTAO‘s micro-transactions, as well as their overall standing on the decision to include the online mode free with the game:
“That’s the way this company operates,” he continued, “and then having done that, we think, ‘okay, now what is the appropriate way to price this experience so that we can appropriately compensate all of our stakeholders?’ The people who create the products, the employees who work at this company and, of course, our shareholders.
“And we’ve always looked at pricing all of our content with an eye towards giving people more than they pay for, trying to over-deliver. So GTA Online is free with the game. First time we’ve ever done anything like this. It’s incredibly ambitious and taxing and challenging. And consumers love it, and they’re showing up in great magnitude.
“As Karl said, there is currency in the game and there are plans, at some point, to make that currency available for cash payments in addition to other ways you earn currency in the game. We’re going to let Rockstar talk more about that.
“We don’t need to talk more about that today. But for sure, we’re commercial folks, and we are in business. But where we start here is with a passion for what we do, then we think about how what we do is going to delight consumers.
“And then, and only then, do we think about how we’re going to monetize it.”
Zelnick finished off the meeting by detailing how Take Two plans to address GTA Online‘s server issues, which the company is learning more and more about operating and stabilizing on a day-by-day basis:
“One of our stated strategies is to be the most efficient company in the business. We did not go out and build a massive infrastructure to support something before we understood where consumers were going to be.
“We are learning every day how to do this in a high-quality way, and there will be some costs associated with it. We have zero doubt that the revenue will vastly exceed any operating expense.”
The meeting itself was an interesting look at how Take Two plans to move the series forward, but of course Zelnick was careful not to go into too much detail and spill the beans on anything under wraps.
As for upcoming GTA V content, Rockstar has recently announced the Beach Bum DLC Pack–which adds in a host of weapons, vehicles, accessories and more–will be coming sometime in November.
Coupled with the aforementioned DLC, Rockstar will also star launching Social Club Event Weekends in GTA Online and they’ll be launching their content creator for customized races and deathmatches–and the best ones will be highlighted by Rockstar.