Take-Two: Recession Is A "Car Crash," Not A Financial Crisis
The global financial situation is dark and intimidating, even though the video game industry still appears encased in a safety cocoon; one analysts have been talking about for months. Still, it's always interesting to hear what publishers think about the recession, and how it may affect gaming.
According to Reuters, Take-Two Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick spoke at the Reuters Media Summit in New York, and he said everyone should feel "encouraged by Black Friday," when sales were - perhaps surprisingly - quite good, considering the country's situation. Zelnick continued: "It was better than expectations, but it's pretty hard these days -- being slightly down is the new up." In this way, analysts and publishers agree that this holiday season should be fine for the industry, and we can all look forward to another growth year in 2009. Well, perhaps it won't be the kind of growth we saw in 2008, but even so, Zelnick refused to label the current situation as a "financial crisis." He then made the following elaborate analogy, though, which hints at possible "intensive care" emergencies in the future:
"We're still seeing the car crash, and the ambulences [sic] are still showing up at the scene. Maybe we're in the emergency room, but we're not even in the intensive care unit yet for a lot of these companies. But they will get there."
At this point, the only sufferers may be the small, independent developers. Without an accomplished backlog, publishers are unlikely to have faith in their projects and more likely to back the guarantees from larger development houses. The development of games needs capital like everything else; without that capital, and considering the loan crisis right now, small devs have few options. At least, that's how we see it. The big boys still seem okay.
12/6/2008 Ben Dutka