Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, has some real talent. Not for making incredible games or savvy business, but for being so uproariously wrong. In other words, Strauss Zelnick is a moron and no one should listen to him. Here’s the latest example of why.
During a recent presentation, he argued that consumers are “ready” for the next-gen game price to increase to $69.99, as NBA 2K21 will follow that pricing model. Keep in mind, this is the same slime ball that said loot boxes and unskippable ads in sports games were necessary. This is the same sleazy publisher who has been putting out the same games, filled with egregious gambling, for years. Zelnick also said that unions were a waste of time in the games industry. Yeah, sure, the company known for reckless abuse of employees and consumers doesn’t want to be held accountable.
During that conference, Zelnick had a lot of hot air to blow, including bangers like “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.” Really hitting the nail on the head, yet entirely missing the point here, Strauss. The implication there is that Zelnick wants gamers to pay more, essentially to trick themselves into thinking they get a premium product.
Here’s the relevant quote:
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.
Yeah sure, replayability and extraordinary experiences equate to spinning a bunch of gambling wheels. They really think we are the dumbest people on the planet. They are thoroughly convinced that people enjoy the drek they shovel into sports games and the like. Look at the trailer below, is that gambling? Sure looks like it to me. I would love to hear a justification other than greed for this mess.
The quote is from the March 2021 Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. Can we just remark on the fact that a company instrumental in causing the 2008 financial crisis is hosting a conference for greedy CEOs to wax poetically about how great they are? Anyway, this is just one more strand in a long string of examples of why the entire executive class is a waste of oxygen.
It’s not very surprising at all that the CEO most disconnected from actual consumers would say this. But the really insulting part is that you just know these companies will claim to the contrary that the increased prices benefit development.
Let’s be real, this price increase isn’t improving the quality of games. Nor is it ensuring pay raises and better conditions for the people who actually make these games. These prices are paying for another golden parachute for a class of useless parasites. While game developers and designers crunch themselves into mental breakdowns to meet deadlines, parasitic single-celled organisms like Bobby Kotick and ole’ Zelnick would rather fire hundreds of people.
So what does this mean for the future of Take-Two? More price increases in future releases, obviously. The company has its finger in the pie of Rockstar and 2K, major AAA game developers. We can expect the next GTA to jump in price. And of course, all their future releases will be absolutely smothered in microtransactions, because sucking 20 gallons of gilded blood from every consumer isn’t enough for these human-tick hybrids.
NBA 2K21 isn’t the first to do this either, Sony appears to be following similar logic with PS5 releases. And we can bet on the higher prices not benefitting developers at all. So while developers continue to struggle, these human stains worth less than a dung beetle will continue to rake in millions.
And the saddest part about all of it is, that most of the industry agrees with them. Companies like Riot Games engender cultures of abuse and then try to silence those who speak out. And what do shareholders and the rest of the executives do in response? Nothing. By their own admission in circumstances like this, the executives of the games industry would prefer you were dead as long as they could charge your corpse a bill, or sell it a loot box.