GTA’s Publisher Thinks Longer Games Should Cost More
Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, the long-time publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series, has gone on record professing a complex concept that would see gamers charged more for longer games. He rolled out a confusing algorithm that would effectively have players pay more for a longer game based on their ‘expected entertainment usage’.
Simply put, the longer the game and the more you’re expected to play it, the more you’ll pay for it.
It Makes Sense, Right?
It might be a confusing concept on paper, but it makes sense. How many of us paid $60 for something like Grand Theft Auto 5, only to then play the game on a loop for thousands of hours over the next decade? It’s a damn good deal for gamers in that respect.
That’s why Strauss Zelnick suggested during a financial call that there’s a clear monetary issue in gaming, with ‘frontline prices’ being desperately low.
In terms of pricing for any entertainment property, basically the algorithm is the value of the expected entertainment usage, which is to say that the per-hour value times the number of expected hours plus the terminal value that’s perceived by the customer in ownership if the title is actually owned, not, say, rented or subscribed to. And you’ll see that that bears out in every kind of entertainment vehicle. By that standard, our frontline prices are still very, very low because we offer many hours of engagement.
If Zelnick were to apply this logic to the sale of Grand Theft Auto 6 – which is being revealed next month – it would likely carry a price tag worth several hundred dollars, that’s how expansive the game is expected to be.
Fortunately, Zelnick also stressed that publishers don’t have the inherent ability to impact the recommended retail prices, no matter how much they might want to.