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STRAUSS ZELNICK THE INTERVIEW


CAN 2K SPORTS TAKE EUROPE?


A FESTIVE SHOWDOWN Take-Two’s big focus right now is on the new consoles. PS4 and Xbox One sales have sold faster than even the most optimistic of analysts had predicted. Will Take- Two speed up development of its next-gen products as a result? “I would love to say we could


ONE Take-Two success that has gone largely unnoticed in Europe is the growth of its sports IPs. 2K Sports is one of only a few firms that have gone toe-to-toe with EA in this arena. And with its NBA 2K franchise, it’s winning. Yet 2K’s sports titles have focused on sports that are mostly big in the US – basketball, baseball and wrestling. Any chance a ‘European’ sport


will get the 2K treatment? “2K and Visual Concepts have done an exceptional job in broadening the global audience for the NBA 2K series, and there


are even more opportunities in Europe and Asia,” says Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two. “In 2013, we bolstered our sports offerings by adding the WWE franchise. That brand has a strong and passionate global fan base and this year, 2K will launch its first next-gen WWE 2K title. “Market-specific sports are something we regularly explore. Given our firm commitment to quality, it would need to be an opportunity for which we could deliver the best experience in the category and build a profitable long-term franchise.”


develop faster,” he says. “Creating the highest quality in the business does take time. “We did bring one of the earliest titles to the new platforms with basketball, and that was very successful indeed. “We have a pipeline of more than ten unique titles coming to next-gen consoles and we have announced Evolve, NBA 2K15 and WWE 2K15. We have some unannounced titles including some for


this fiscal year, but I


don’t


foresee a tighter development timetable.” The games Zelnick lists there, alongside upcoming PC strategy game Civilization: Beyond Earth, are all scheduled to release in the last quarter of the year. Take- Two has historically been good at pacing out its products, but this year all of its big titles are due to hit in the final quarter. Rival EA has already told Wall


Street it expects Christmas 2014 to be ‘highly competitive’ and Zelnick does not disagree. Yet he remains bullish. “Our expectation is that the


market will be strong for higher quality titles, and that it will be challenging for less than high quality titles, which is why we are so very focused there,” he said. “But we feel quite good


about the market, a rising tide lifts all ships, and I think it is a rising tide.”


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