Take-Two CEO Says the Company is Under-Monetizing its Users

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Any monetization is too much monetization, hands down.

LOl. Simply lol. Classic human nature. They see how much other people are making and suddebnl;y want it.

"Hey folks, did you forget for half a second that we consider you all to be walking wallets? Well, let us remind you!"

Saelune:

Canadamus Prime:

altnameJag:
I'm just saying, accounting for inflation, SNES games were in the $80-$90 range on the low end.

*shrug* Increased sales can only count for so much at a static price point.

Really? Because that's a price I refuse to pay. Fuck inflation!

Accounting for inflation I feel is very misleading though, cause as I understand it, it just means our money used to be "worth more" back then. Everything will be more expensive if you "account for inflation". It is not the fault of prices then but the worth of our money.

I fail to see the tangible difference. Is Chrono Trigger, a game that can be played on your phone, an $80 game? Because that's how much it cost before inflation. Square probably spent much more on FF 15 than it did on FF 6 even accounting for inflation. 6 certainly took only a tenth of the time to develop, at any rate. But 6 cost more, before inflation.

Nile McMorrow:

deadish:
Did anyone even read the post?

But Zelnick also acknowledged that you can go too far in charging players for every last bit of content. "You can't give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there's no business model in that," Zelnick said. "But we're not trying to optimize the monetization 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."

"We're not going to grab the last nickel," he said.

He is pretty much justifying his company's decision to not squeeze every last nickel from their customers even though from a industry perspective there is "money on the table".

Except

"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."

Shows that he does want their games to get at more of the money on the table whilst bamboozling their consumers into thinking it's all part of the creative visions and don't worry they'll enjoy it. Just because he doesn't want your last nickel doesn't mean they won't try to price up for the rest.

Dude. That's his job. Take-Two is a for-profit corporation with shareholders, not a charity.

ALL corporations charge what the market will bear. They aren't your friends, they are people you do business with.

He is suppose to maximize profit as it's CEO but he is aware that if he overdoes it it will result in dissatisfaction among the company's customer base and that is bad for business in the long run.

altnameJag:

Saelune:

Canadamus Prime:

Really? Because that's a price I refuse to pay. Fuck inflation!

Accounting for inflation I feel is very misleading though, cause as I understand it, it just means our money used to be "worth more" back then. Everything will be more expensive if you "account for inflation". It is not the fault of prices then but the worth of our money.

I fail to see the tangible difference. Is Chrono Trigger, a game that can be played on your phone, an $80 game? Because that's how much it cost before inflation. Square probably spent much more on FF 15 than it did on FF 6 even accounting for inflation. 6 certainly took only a tenth of the time to develop, at any rate. But 6 cost more, before inflation.

Problem: Retro games go DOWN in price as time goes by. Now granted, FF6 and Chrono Trigger are good games, and I have both for my Playstation, but they are older games. Hell, my versions are worth more than what's being sold now, unless of course they are the Anthology and Chronicles edition with the extra stuff in them. Bet I could find those games and a console to run them for less than those two games. Maybe even less than one game if the place I have in mind is feeling generous.

FalloutJack:
Any monetization is too much monetization, hands down.

I disagree. Charging a dollar for an outfit that's entirely optional to wear in game to me is fine. It's there for people who want it and it doesn't break anyone's bank account. I'm fine with micro-transactions as long as they are fairly priced, optional, and don't give players an edge over other players.

Developers that sell the best weapons in multiplayer as "early" packs are scum. Developers that sell skins for guns at a fair price aren't.

Its eerie that this is being discussed the day after I discovered that the money it would cost me to buy all the cosmetic (bar two) pieces of DLC for Dead or Alive 5 on PC would also buy me a PS4 Pro AND an Xbox One S plus a game or two each depending on how hard a bargain I drive.

I always understand why microtransactions are hated, but they usually never bother me. The idea of paying for in-game cash or a dumb skin repulses me, so I just don't do it. But other people do it, and they get to be the ones that pay the developers.

It's like the lottery. It only hurts them and indirectly benefits me.

Bat Vader:
Nope

Nope, not worth it. You want to have some kind of unlock, put it in the game and link it to an achievement or something. All this other stuff is just greedy greedy greedy.

I don't get what is wrong with these buisnessmen (buisnesspeople? Is there a gender neutral term for this?.)

If the product is good enough, and I desire it, I will pay your price.

If the micro transactions are good enough, I will pay for them too.

If I have to pay, to make your game good, then that is shit, and you are bad at your job.

Games like Black Desert Online and Warframe are cool games with great ideas, completely ruined by micro transactions. They act like they are optional, but that's only true if you don't want the good version of the game, because you know, everyone wants the crappy version.

This was more egregious in Warframe, because their are many terrible enemies and mission structures, that aren't in most games because they are the opposite of fun. They are the kind, that would never be included were this a single purchase product, but here they work almost like they're holding the fun for ransom.

The original ideas that are in the game, the little details, innovative design descisions, all that work, had to have been done by passionate people. No matter how greedy you are, why would you release an actively worse product, when you could nickle and dime me, and still have one worth being proud of?

[sarcasm]Someone has a bad case of putting their foot in their mouth.[/sarcasm]

I guess I will have to put Take Two in my shit list as well now.

Given I find that GTA online's model which is basically "Grind for 20 hours or pay us 5 bucks" to be too far, Take-two can also look forwards to not getting any more money from me.

Now, if you wanna make storyline DLC, sure. But, shark cards and shit? Nah.

I pre-ordered borderlands 2, bought season pass, bought the psycho character, and I think dragon keep was another $10 thats >$100 which I don't even regret spending because the game was great and I played the hell out of it.

Then the company added DLC heads and skins to the cosmetic machine which have no distinction from the ones you found in game, except if you select them they take you to the "pay up motherfucker" screen.

So in my single player game I'm forced to scroll through shit I don't have and might accidentally click on.

Microtransactions suck and always will and here is why: they turn in-game gameplay decisions into real-world economic decisions.

And economic decisions inherently suck unless you are so rich the transaction couldn't possibly matter to you.

And the company pimping microtransactions adds useless shit to the interface to market/advertise them. Advertising whose whole point is to make you feel bad that you don't have something until you break down and buy it. Even if you never intend to pay the existence of in-game "shopping" makes your experience worse.

FateBinds:
Given I find that GTA online's model which is basically "Grind for 20 hours or pay us 5 bucks" to be too far, Take-two can also look forwards to not getting any more money from me.

Now, if you wanna make storyline DLC, sure. But, shark cards and shit? Nah.

You know, it's funny. I've never actually PLAYED a GTA plotline. For me, the point of the game is to cause as much chaos as possible in the sandbox and do whatever you want. I wouldn't even pay for story.

ffronw:

Zelnick said that Take-Two wasn't maximizing its microtranaction business. "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."

But Zelnick also acknowledged that you can go too far in charging players for every last bit of content. "You can't give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there's no business model in that," Zelnick said. "But we're not trying to optimize the monetization 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."

Seriously, did you miss my earlier post? It is quite relevant for your readers to know that the person you're describing is an indirect owner of this website.

I mean, when GameTrailers nominated a Rock Band game for their Game of the Year awards, at least there was a big notice saying that GameTrailers' parent company also owns the Rock Band brand.

Bedinsis:

Seriously, did you miss my earlier post? It is quite relevant for your readers to know that the person you're describing is an indirect owner of this website.

I mean, when GameTrailers nominated a Rock Band game for their Game of the Year awards, at least there was a big notice saying that GameTrailers' parent company also owns the Rock Band brand.

There's typically a disclosure that adds automatically. I went back and poked it to make it show up this time. Not sure why it didn't.

ffronw:

Bedinsis:

Seriously, did you miss my earlier post? It is quite relevant for your readers to know that the person you're describing is an indirect owner of this website.

I mean, when GameTrailers nominated a Rock Band game for their Game of the Year awards, at least there was a big notice saying that GameTrailers' parent company also owns the Rock Band brand.

There's typically a disclosure that adds automatically. I went back and poked it to make it show up this time. Not sure why it didn't.

Much appreciated.

Laughing Man:
Lol company CEO stands up in front of crowd and tells people that he believes his company aren't being big enough dicks and that believes they could be bigger dicks in future without making it seem like they are being bigger dicks... what a total dick.

And the sad part? It won't hurt their bottom one little bit.

I mean, hey, as long as a company isn't seen giving into ess jay dubyas, all is well.

deadish:
Did anyone even read the post?

But Zelnick also acknowledged that you can go too far in charging players for every last bit of content. "You can't give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there's no business model in that," Zelnick said. "But we're not trying to optimize the monetization 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."

"We're not going to grab the last nickel," he said.

He is pretty much justifying his company's decision to not squeeze every last nickel from their customers even though from a industry perspective there is "money on the table".

Right after he compares us to wood.

Hyperbole as this sounds, I remember watching a documentary on the Japanese occupation of Korea and Manchuria; they woudln't even refer to the prisoners of their death camps as human beings. They were listed as "Maruta", which translates to firewood.

Interesting.

Smithnikov:

deadish:
Did anyone even read the post?

But Zelnick also acknowledged that you can go too far in charging players for every last bit of content. "You can't give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there's no business model in that," Zelnick said. "But we're not trying to optimize the monetization 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."

"We're not going to grab the last nickel," he said.

He is pretty much justifying his company's decision to not squeeze every last nickel from their customers even though from a industry perspective there is "money on the table".

Right after he compares us to wood.

Hyperbole as this sounds, I remember watching a documentary on the Japanese occupation of Korea and Manchuria; they woudln't even refer to the prisoners of their death camps as human beings. They were listed as "Maruta", which translates to firewood.

Interesting.

I thought only the German deathcamps did that.

This is really being twisted out of proportion... What he is actually saying is basically that Take-two doesn't want to insert too much unnecessary micro-transactions or shifting meta motivating their customers to purchase more, because they don't want they're customers to feel ripped off, consciously or otherwise.

For some reason what people seem to be hearing is, our customers are cows and can produce more milk but we don't want them to feel like they're cows. I don't feel at all like Zelnick is saying that, and I don't understand why people are reading into it this way.

I think you could debate whether or not you feel like Take Two is doing too much or too little in terms of monetization, but I don't think it's fair to claim that this is some dehumanizing statement about their customers, and I don't particularly feel like it's a crass way to describe it either.

Kameburger:
This is really being twisted out of proportion... What he is actually saying is basically that Take-two doesn't want to insert too much unnecessary micro-transactions or shifting meta motivating their customers to purchase more, because they don't want they're customers to feel ripped off, consciously or otherwise.

For some reason what people seem to be hearing is, our customers are cows and can produce more milk but we don't want them to feel like they're cows. I don't feel at all like Zelnick is saying that, and I don't understand why people are reading into it this way.

I think you could debate whether or not you feel like Take Two is doing too much or too little in terms of monetization, but I don't think it's fair to claim that this is some dehumanizing statement about their customers, and I don't particularly feel like it's a crass way to describe it either.

...The first quote directly compared the customers to wood via an analogy. That IS a dehumanizing statement.

But even if you don't see it that way, the second quote has some rather unpleasant implications. It's basically saying "We can only screw over the customers a little bit. If we screw them over too much, they'll soon complain, even if they are too stupid to realize that they have caught us." Basically, it's saying "Ripping off customers is all well and good, as long as you don't get caught."

Well, since this topic is still going, I want to spotlight something I thought was rather funny. Of course, a number of you are probably aware that The Jimquisition did a video about all this. What I'd like to focus on is an absolutely perfect response to the situation, classy and funny. A commenter spoke thus...

Oh look, a real life Kaneshiro.
He probably sees everyone as a Walking ATM as well.

I laughed like hell. He nailed it. He killed it. So, in honor of that spot-on remark, a little music...

thebobmaster:

Kameburger:
This is really being twisted out of proportion... What he is actually saying is basically that Take-two doesn't want to insert too much unnecessary micro-transactions or shifting meta motivating their customers to purchase more, because they don't want they're customers to feel ripped off, consciously or otherwise.

For some reason what people seem to be hearing is, our customers are cows and can produce more milk but we don't want them to feel like they're cows. I don't feel at all like Zelnick is saying that, and I don't understand why people are reading into it this way.

I think you could debate whether or not you feel like Take Two is doing too much or too little in terms of monetization, but I don't think it's fair to claim that this is some dehumanizing statement about their customers, and I don't particularly feel like it's a crass way to describe it either.

...The first quote directly compared the customers to wood via an analogy. That IS a dehumanizing statement.

But even if you don't see it that way, the second quote has some rather unpleasant implications. It's basically saying "We can only screw over the customers a little bit. If we screw them over too much, they'll soon complain, even if they are too stupid to realize that they have caught us." Basically, it's saying "Ripping off customers is all well and good, as long as you don't get caught."

"More wood to chop" doesnt at all seem to imply that in my opinion... it is an idiom that means more work to be done. I do not think he was drawing an analogy to the "wood" being customers and take two being an axe. If anything the wood is the game, it's the thing someone who would chop wood might sell... it seems like such a reach to me.

Monetizing also does not mean "ripping off" anything and everything you buy is "monetized" but I think ironically what he was saying is that he doesn't want to cross that line because if you do try to rip off your customers, they will understand that and that effects your brand. A point I think that was actually very true. Mobile games have a terrible reputation in general because of over monetizing and Zelnick is expressing that he doesn't want take two to do this. I just don't see what you're describing.

DLC that is just cosmetic, or DLC storylines that take nothing from the base game are fine by me. I can buy them or not as I choose, and they have no effect on the actual single player game play. It's only when they add DLC that changes the way the base game plays that I start to have problems. By all means, add multiplayer skins and the like, if you can make a buck off of it, more power to you.

Bat Vader:
I'm fine with micro-transactions as long as they are fairly priced, optional, and don't give players an edge over other players.

That is why you have this:

Bat Vader:
Developers that sell the best weapons in multiplayer as "early" packs are scum.

It's a process and they ask people to cross more and more lines and now here we are. They don't care that you they think they are scum but they are probably happy you aren't publicly condemning micro-transactions but rather accepting some of them. Now maybe you aren't buying them but some people are and those people probably started by buying inconsequential micro-transactions, the ones you say are fine and from there became more accustomed to buying them until buying them for in-game advantages seemed only natural.

Aaaaaaand Take Two just took down the modding tool OpenIV, essentially banned all modding on GTA V.
I gotta say, I'm impressed at how hard they're trying to become another EA Games. Now the obvious next step is to announce more paid DLC content, just to pour salt on the player base's wounds.

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