During the 43rd Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York, Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive, gave his opinion on microtransactions in the gaming industry and in his own published titles.
Zelnick was quoted as saying “Virtual currency done right just further enhances gameplay and engages consumers with our brands. And when I say done right, we are not in the business of erecting toll booths along the way of gameplay”
He also stated “We’re in the business of delighting consumers. And when we design our virtual currency packs, we do it in a way that will make consumers happier, not sadder that they are engaged with our games”
This is the approach consumers would love to hear but time and time again have we have been told that microtransactions were supposedly playing a small non-essential role in a game, only for games like Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Crew to seem utterly dependent on microtransactions, to the point where the game is scaled differently to make in-game purchases seem much more attractive.
Zelnick’s view is that “Monetization stems organically from creativity. And so the more that we give consumers to do that they love doing, the more likely they are to spend money while they’re doing it.”
This is a good practice to have. One that offers microtransactions but doesn’t depend upon companies disassembling or warping a game to a state where playing the game is miserable compared to what it could have been.
Zelnick gave an example of his ‘monetization from creativity’ in Borderlands 2. Following its release, Take-Two has released 12 downloadable content packs and numerous smaller updates that have been met with “good success” in Zelnick’s words.
Another good example is GTA Online which offers real currency in exchange for in game currency and while this can be accused of the same practice as Ubisoft’s recent titles, it does not take away the fun from the game and provides for money where money is already easily obtainable in-game.
Take-Two’s practices in terms of microtransactions have been seen as favourable, especially when compared to games that take advantage of big budget franchises and players’ honest enthusiasm.