Take Two, the publisher of some games you may have heard of before like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, recently discussed in a business meeting the reasons why they don’t release annual games for non-sports titles.
Company president Karl Slatoff was asked about the business reasons behind not annualising its biggest titles to which he responded by saying that they want to avoid franchise fatigue by strictly managing releases which, in turn, makes a brand viable for longer than one that is released yearly.
“We don’t intend to change annual strategy because of product fatigue. Take-Two creates franchise value and releases have to be managed deliberately. It’s tempting to have continuous releases and milk a franchise as far as you can, but we’ve seen that fatigue in other franchises in the games industry. With almost every single franchise for us, the latest release is bigger than the one before.”
This certainly seems to fit with the development cycle of their titles with numerous years between GTA releases and the ever elusive next installment of the Red Dead games yet to even be announced. Take Two are the industry experts in building up anticipation for their game releases which along with releasing a quality product, almost guarantees healthy returns. With GTA V Online literally pumping cash into their bank accounts, it’s hard to imagine that they’d be in any position to rush out another GTA title anytime soon but with anticipation of a new Red Dead title reaching near fever pitch I wonder, is this Take Two’s cunning strategy in action?
It’s hard to argue with their reasoning given the success they’ve had with their games and we’ve seen other publishers change from annual releases to a more prolonged development cycle because of concerns that the franchises were becoming fatigued and the fans even more so. Assassin’s Creed for example is now heading for a longer development cycle and in my eyes it’s a welcome move and one that I have at wanted for a while now. Would you like to see any franchises annualised or do you agree with Take Two?
Words by Rob Pearce