Take-Two Interactive occupies a massive booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where it’s showing off its new games and serving beer at the elaborate sports bar it constructed on the show floor. Under its CEO, Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two has been showing renewed financial health in recent quarters. In February, it posted its first profitable year in nearly a decade without a new release of its blockbuster video game franchise “Grand Theft Auto.” Zelnick sat down with Reuters for an in depth chat touching on everything from Nintendo’s new console to Zynga’s business model, and the difference between foie gras and chewing gum.
Reuters: Are publishers on board more than ever before with Nintendo on the Wii U?
Zelnick: Well, It’s hard to know, right? At E3, there’s always a great deal of enthusiasm, as there should be. It remains to be seen what the releases schedules look like. We do think it’s pretty interesting. What they are doing with one display in your hands and the other display that’s wireless in front of you and the ability to have them work independently as well as together, creates a lot of interesting creative opportunities and that’s what we’re looking for. We’ll see how our creative teams feel but right now it looks pretty interesting.
Reuters: Will the touchscreen appeal to the mass market?
Zelnick: It all depends on the execution. You can take that product and execute a kid’s game that’s simple or take that product and do something that’s very complex. It remains to be seen. And that was what was exciting about the Wii. We supported the Wii in the beginning. If you recall, we did “Carnival Games” for the Wii and we also did “Manhunt 2” for the Wii, so we did do an adults-focused title. As it turns out, the Wii turned out being more interesting from a family and kids point of view. It remains to be seen how the Wii U plays out but obviously it’s interesting. We support it. We love all our children equally and we support everyone.
Reuters: You launched a new franchise recently, “L.A. Noire” and a year ago you launched another entirely new franchise, “Red Dead Redempion.” How hard is it to launch new intellectual property in this landscape?