Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.

Do not expect a return to the old release cadence for Take-Two Interactive’s publishing labels like Rockstar Games. While a decade ago, Rockstar used to release one game a year, it has only released Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 since 2013. And Take-Two Interactive Entertainment chief executive officer Strauss Zelnick told a group of investors in a conference call today that is unlikely to change.

“The development cycles for our core, immersive releases are still significant,” said Zelnick. “It takes some time to make what we hope will be the best titles in the business. Development cycles are not getting shorter for core, immersive releases. I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to.”

Where games might’ve averaged a few years of development in the past, that duration is expanding to half a decade or more. But Rockstar points out that this goes hand-in-hand with its microtransaction strategy.

“What has changed is between big releases we continue to engage consumers with add-on content and opportunities to engage in online versions of the game and instances of online multiplayer,” said Zelnick. “That’s what created recurrent consumer spending. But much more importantly, recurrent spending reflects consumer spending and engagement.”


GamesBeat Summit 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in Los Angeles this May 22-23. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.

Register Here

To translate Zelnick, developers are generating revenue from the same aging games with in-game purchases. And the CEO believes this is partially driven by the desires of consumers to play the same games for longer.

Bigger games means more consolidation

Zelnick went on to note that bigger and more complicated games means they’re also riskier to produce. And that will have a knock-on effect that makes the market more difficult for smaller studios.

“Over time, will it be harder for smaller companies to compete in this space? I think the answer will be yes with regard to both mobile and console,” said Zelnick. “The resources required are significant. The risk profile is significant. And the history of the entertainment business is that over time, those that are very creative become very successful. Those that are very successful become bigger. And those that are bigger have the opportunity to acquire smaller enterprises.”

So Take-Two’s boss expects more acquisitions and consolidation. And that may also help the publisher fill out its release roster as its current teams take longer than ever to produce new games.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.