In an interesting interview with CNBC Squawk Box, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick can barely keep a straight face when asked multiple times about the potential release for GTA 6.In discussion with CNBC, Strauss Zelnick was asked about Take-Two's forecasted earnings in fiscal year 2025. In his answer, while constantly quizzed on whether this was due to Grand Theft Auto VI, he let out a wry smile before explaining that Take-Two have upwards of 30 games expected to release in the next few years including a number of new IPs, but once again reiterated that they have high expectations for the success of new games in their established franchises.
Check out the video below, or directly on CNBC's YouTube.
Becky Quick (Anchor): "You're going to be looking at more than $8 billion in revenue next year for games, and that's 45% ahead of the midpoint of the street's estimates. That is huge, huge news, and it's got people speculating that you've got to have Grand Theft Auto 6 coming out?"
Strauss Zelnick: "So we've said that we're working on the next iteration of Grand Theft Auto, but Rockstar hasn't announced a release date yet. We've been working on this huge pipeline. We have 36 titles coming to market in fiscal 25 & 26, and we obviously have high expectations. We typically don't talk about future years; we typically give guidance and try to go right down the middle. That's what we're supposed to do. In this instance, we wanted to give the street the transparency it's been asking for, so we basically gave an outlook for this fiscal year and subsequent too. What's interesting is we have high expectations for fiscal 25, but also, we expect sequential growth in fiscal 26."
Becky: "I mean, you look at the stock jump. It was up more than 10%, more than 11% I think. This is huge, huge news because you have a lot of new properties that are coming out, but you're usually pretty conservative about new things that have not been out there in the past?"
Strauss: "Generally, we like to have success before we talk about it."
Becky: "So what makes you so sure this time?"
Strauss: "We've been working on this pipeline for a long time, and we have a pretty good ability to predict the performance of new iterations of existing franchises..."
Becky: "Like Grand Theft Auto?"
Strauss: "Um... laughs... Actually, we have 14 franchises that have sold over 5 million units in an individual release. Titles like Red Dead and Borderlands, Bioshock, Civilization, and many others."
Strauss also made a valid point on the price of video games and interactive entertainment as one of the anchors pointed out to him people will pay $150 for a 2 hour concert, yet expect to pay less than half of that for a 100+ hour game. While there's no suggestion GTA 6 will be priced at over $100, it's a fair point when considering price per hour of entertainment and perhaps does hint at a slight price increase for their upcoming games.
Further in the discussion Strauss was also asked about AI in video game development and explained that while AI is always helping to make development easier, it also leads to higher expectations from consumers and higher quality demands. While some of the development might get quicker and cheaper, it also means standards increase and more work is then required to make games the best they can be.
It's a really interesting interview, so check out the interview above and let us know what you think. We're looking forward to hearing his real thoughts on GTA VI when it's officially announced by Rockstar Games.