Today, during Take-Two Interactive Entertainment Software's financial conference call for investors and analysts, chief executive officer Strauss Strass Zelnick talked about some rather trendy topics in the gaming industry.
Zelnick was asked to comment on the possible influence of AI on game development, and he mentioned that he's usually the first person to be skeptical of other people's hype, besides the fact that "AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and there is no such thing as artificial intelligence." That being said, he's really excited about what he's seeing with ChatGPT and other leaps forward in AI and machine learning.
He believes Take-Two and others will create tools that will enhance development and reduce some costs but he doesn't think it'll have a big effect on the overall structure of the business because it'll just end up raising the bar.
"Any time you make things easier, our teams will want to do more."
Zelnick compared ChatGPT to the introduction of the handheld calculator. And while it makes it easier, you still have to learn math. In the same way, ChatGPT marks the ushering of a very exciting era of new tools allowing both Take-Two's teams and its competitor's teams to do really interesting things more efficiently, but this just means they'll want to do more and be even more creative.
He also added that the tools won't allow competitors to automatically create a better competitor to Grand Theft Auto and ship it. People will try, but it won't happen.
Zelnick was also asked to explain the company's current stage on Cloud Gaming, and he explained that Take-Two has always been a believer, in fact, they were among the first to jump onto the Google Stadia bandwagon. Broader distribution is always a good thing in the entertainment industry and reaching more consumers is always a good thing and the company is happy to do it as long as the returns make sense.
That being said, he never felt that Cloud Gaming will represent a seismic change in the industry.
"I think if you're prepared to pay $60 or $70 for a frontline title, you're also prepared to buy a console, and I think Stadia found that out."
He believes that bringing high-quality titles to consumers who don't have consoles will "probably have an effect around the edges" but he doesn't think it'll be a revolution in the business. It'll be an evolution and there are still technical challenges to be addressed.
Later in the call, speaking of subscription models like Xbox Game Pass, Zelnick opined that they aren't cannibalizing Take-Two's sales.
About mobile games, the executive admitted that the hit ratio in the mobile business is very low, and bringing Take-Two's AAA franchise to iOS and Android is potentially a very exciting opportunity, but it's "really, really hard to do." One of Take-Two's competitors has done it really well with a game and the publisher is impressed and admires that, but they still have a healthy respect for how difficult it is.
"The vast majority of hits in mobile are native to mobile. They are not based on existing IP. They do not come from console. I'm very optimistic that we're going to give it a try and I'm really hopeful that we'll do well with it, but it's not a slam dunk."
If you're interested in Take-Two's financial performance and an update about the sales of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, you can check out our dedicated article.