Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick thinks that gamers should spend more to play longer games. While acknowledging it isn’t practical, Zelnick believes publishers should base pricing on how many hours players expect to spend in-game.
Take-Two CEO says AAA games are underpriced
As Rock Paper Shotgun reported, Zelnick laid out the GTA 6 publisher’s pricing philosophy during an investor call last weekend.
“In terms of our pricing for any entertainment property,” The Take-Two executive said,” basically the algorithm is the value of the expected entertainment usage, which is to say the per-hour value times the number of expected hours plus the terminal value that’s perceived by the customer in ownership if the title is owned rather than rented or subscribed to.”
In other words, pricing is based on the game’s length, amount of content, and whether players are buying, renting, or subscribing.
He explained that, according to this pricing philosophy, $70 is a meager price for AAA games.
“By that standard, our prices are still very, very low because we offer many hours of engagement, the value of the engagement is very high. So, I think the industry as a whole offers a terrific price-to-value opportunity for consumers.”
The executive, who Take-Two paid $42.1 million in 2023, understands his ideal pricing policy isn’t practical in the current market. That means fans probably don’t have to worry about spending over $100 on the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6.
Still, his attitude reflects a common sentiment among executives, who often cite rising development costs to justify price increases. The common counterargument is that AAA developers spend too much money on scale and spectacle, placing quantity over quality. However, the industry never seems to take that criticism to heart.
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