The next generation is coming! Batten down the hatches me hearties! All the cutesy cart-racing games we can develop won’t be saving us from this storm! While a next-gen wave of hardware and games may be on the horizon, it’s not something that actually benefits everyone. Publisher Take Two believes this to be the case, and while it may be smooth sailing in their book, quite a few third party studios might be facing choppy waters in the near future.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference that Polygon attended, Zelnick said that while Take Two was looking to welcome the future of gaming, due to the fact that they had focused on quality titles and being financially sound, that incoming new generation of consoles was going to hit third party developers hard.
Toward the end of the [console life] cycle, it’s bad for everyone. Third parties particularly limit their release schedules and begin to think about launching for the next generation … and third parties typically will not launch at the very launch of the next generation because there’s no install base and they don’t have a hardware business to support [them].
Zelnick also said this transitional gap, could be "quite meaningful" for third party developers;
If you’re not capitalized for the transition, you can find out that you’re not there for the transition. Historically, in every transition that’s occurred in this business, one or two third parties have gone out of business.
Last time around it was Midway and a couple of others. Midway was the highest profile. Reasonable people can argue about which one it’ll be this time. I have my own point of view, which I haven’t exactly been quiet about.
Zelnick has been pretty confident lately of Take Two not only weathering through the next-gen console cycle, but that it would also rise to the top, throwing a few barbs towards the beleaguered THQ in the process, saying that "THQ won’t be around in six months."
How do we make sure we’re not on the list of casualties? And that, to the contrary, we’re on the list of winners? “You have to have four key elements,” Zelnick said while adding ownership over IPs, in-house talent, strong tech and "a very strong financial footing" to succeed.
And right now, Take Two is looking plenty strong. With GTA, Bioshock and Borderlands under their $330 million profit belt, they might just have room to boast after all. Although in today’s increasingly deep well of generic games, it’d be a shame to lose a few more talented development studios, if these statements ring true.