Take-Two’s CEO reckons we’re “ready” for $70 video games

Technology

“We’re here to captivate and engage consumers, and if we do that then monetisation follows.”

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has revealed he thinks gamers are “ready” for $70/£65 video games.

Talking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week and transcribed by our friends at VGC, Zelnick was asked to expand on why the publisher had decided to add $10 to the price of NBA 2K21.

The first publisher to confirm a price hike for next-gen video games, Zelnick said the decision came because the game offered “an array of extraordinary experiences” and the last frontline price increase in the US was fifteen years ago.

“We announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21, our view was that we’re offering an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability, and the last time there was a frontline price increase in the US was 2005, 2006, so we think consumers were ready for it,” Zelnick said.

Of course, there were considerably fewer microtransactions and DLC in mainstream games back then and interestingly, he could not be drawn on future pricing of other next-gen titles, saying the publisher made announcements about pricing “on a title-by-title basis”. He did, however, insist that the company was committed to “deliver[ing] more value than what we charge”.

“We haven’t said anything about pricing other titles so far, and we tend to make announcements on a title-by-title basis, but I think our view is [that we want to] always deliver more value than what we charge, make sure the consumer has the experience and[…] the experience of paying for it, both are positive experiences,” Zelnick added.

“We all know anecdotally that even if you love a consumer experience, if you feel you were overcharged for it, it ruins the experience, you don’t want to have it again. [If you] go to a great restaurant, a really really fine restaurant, have a great meal and great service, then you get a check that’s double what you think it should be, you’re never going back.

“So we always want to make sure that consumers feel like we deliver much more than we ask in return, and that’s true for our current consumer spending as well,” he added. “We’re an entertainment company, we’re here to captivate and engage consumers, and if we do that then monetisation follows.”

2K came under fire from NBA 2K21 players for adding unskippable in-game adverts at the end of last year. In the end, 2K was forced to issue a statement suggesting their placement was a mistake.

In a statement issued on Twitter, 2K said the ad that sparked a backlash earlier this week “impacted our players’ experience in a way we didn’t intend, as these ads are not meant to run as part of the pre-game introduction”.