Take-Two: Annualized IPs Eventually Seem To Hit A Wall
The concept of annual IPs seems to make sense: Take something that's popular and give it to the legions of fans every year, so as to make more money over and over.
Activision loves doing that. They did it with Guitar Hero (actually, they released multiple GH installments in some years) and they're currently doing it with the world's biggest video game franchise, Call of Duty.
But Rockstar Games isn't a big fan of the "annualization" process. Grand Theft Auto V will finally launch in 2013, likely at least 5 years after the last entry, GTAIV. That's a long time but even so, Rockstar believes that if you want a series to have true staying power, you can't keep jamming it down the throats of consumers. Here's what Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick had to say on the subject:
"It's our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously views the world differently."
Zelnick also pointed out that the recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops II did not outstrip last year's Modern Warfare 3 right out of the gate, which could be a sign of the franchise losing a little bit of traction. Zelnick further reminds us that this slip has never happened with GTA- "Ours do better each time," he said. "IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall."
By the way, the GTA franchise has now topped 125 million in worldwide shipments life-to-date. So if there's one publisher that knows how to keep a popular franchise popular, it's probably Take-Two.
11/28/2012 12:00:18 AM John Shepard