Strauss Zelnick Comments on Microtransactions and Their Future Implementation in Wake of Last Year’s NBA 2K18 Complaints


If you read my review of NBA 2K18 last year, you probably saw that I had strong feelings about the way the game had further catered its progression systems to lean on the use of microtransactions. Virtual currency, or VC for short, has been a digital currency used in the NBA 2K games for a while now, but 2K18 began locking more items behind these VC paywalls than normal in last year’s version. This all resulted in the least satisfying NBA 2K experience that I have had with the series in years.

Recently at E3, Game Informer sat down with Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick to discuss the use of virtual currency and how he and the company reacted to last year’s drama surrounding their implementation. Zelnick said the following:

“Unquestionably we pay attention to consumer response because we’re so focused on engaging and captivating and entertaining the consumer. Any time we get feedback that is anything less than 1000 percent positive, we stop and say, what should we do differently? I think there’s a small sliver of the consumer base that basically wants everything for free, we can’t really help those people. I think most consumers just want a fair deal and we do think that part of a fair deal is, you know when you get the check at the end of the meal, it’s not enough that the food tasted good, it has to be a fair deal for what you got. So we’re very focused on it being more than a fair deal, we want to give consumers much more than they paid for.”

Zelnick went on to talk about how engaging the customer in the product that Take-Two is creating is the most vital part of creating video games, with a focus on monetization coming second.

“We do learn every time and we have to balance monetization with the experience. In our case, we sort of all regrouped and said, wait, let’s remind ourselves that we’re in the business of creating the best entertainment on Earth, across all types of entertainment. We’re focused on engaging and captivating consumers. If we do that right and that’s our entire focus, the revenues and the profits will probably take care of themselves, so let’s not overemphasize those. So I’m asking questions now like does big data and having lots of data scientists on your team allow you to enhance your monetization? And the answer is, technically I suppose that would be the case, but are you a monetization company or are you an entertainment company? We’re an entertainment company and when we get that right, everything else flows from it.”

While Zelnick didn’t mention any specifics on how Take-Two will be changing the usage of microtransactions, especially in the case of the NBA 2K series, it seems that he and the company have learned a lot following last year’s outrage. Take-Two is just one of many companies in the video game industry that seem weary to go too hard on microtransactions in 2018 after seeing how fans reacted to their harsh implementation last year in games like Star Wars Battlefront II.

As for what’s next, we’ll have to wait and see how virtual currency is implemented in this year’s edition of the annual basketball sim when NBA 2K19 launches on September 11 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.



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GTA Publisher “Focused on Players, not Payers;” Talks Microtransactions, Quality, and More


During Take-Two’s quarterly investor conference call, the publisher’s executive team provided more color on the company’s outlook for microtransactions and more.

Chief Financial Officer Lainie Goldstein explained that recurrent consumer spending is continuing to grow for Take-Two, and it’s a “big focus” for the publisher in all of its games. They feel that there is are a lot more opportunities in the field.

Speaking of microtransactions in NBA 2K18, Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick explained that the strategy is always to “captivate and engage consumers” and revenue is a function of that strategy, and not the other way around. The goal remains to keep consumers excited and make them happy. The effect of doing that is that is that there are “really great results” in terms of recurrent revenue as well.

According to Zelnick, the world has changed. If you do it right, there is an opportunity to keep people engaged. The most exciting element is seeing record numbers of people actually playing.

Asked how the company entices new paying customers to enter the ecosystem in Grand Theft Auto Online, Zelnick responded that the company is “focused on players, not payers.” If they get captivation and engagement right, then everything else will follow. The way they get it right is continuing to give people what they want, which is free content. That’s a strategy that Rockstar Games has done “remarkably well,” and that’s why the game remains so successful.

Zelnick reiterated that the focus is on the players and on the players’ experience, and the monetization will take care of itself if it’s done right.

Asked what makes Grand Theft Auto V so successful, Zelnick explained that he doesn’t think there is a magical answer to that question. It’s recognition that the best quality wins, and GTAV and Grand Theft Auto Online, they became a standard bearer for not just their generation, but also for modern video game business. In past generation of the franchise, there were a couple of other extraordinary titles that could compete, and that doesn’t seem to have been the case with GTAV, which shipped 90 million units in four years.

The “secret sauce” is simply “a really extraordinary experience” that people love, created, delivered, and supported by a label that “never, ever rest on the past, and is utterly focused on innovation and breaking barriers, with an eye towards an amazing entertainment experience.” That’s extremely hard to do and arguably “impossible for others to replicate.”

According to Zenick, a “genuine, not financially-driven, commitment to quality comes first.” On top of that, Take-two has a rational and extremely disciplined business environment which gives creative people a “very safe place to do the best work.”

About the possibility of bringing free-to-play games on consoles, Zelnick believes there are opportunities. For instance NBA 2K online, that is currently available in China, could be a console experience. Yet, on whether the business model might be moving in that direction as a whole, Zelnick feels that it probably can’t. In a free-to-play environment, only ten-ish percent of the consumers maximum is actually paying, and that’s not going to support the very significant investment required by a triple-A title. According to Zelnick consumers understand that, they want to continue AAA experiences, and they’re prepared to pay what “ultimate is a very low price” given the “massive number of hours that one can spend enjoying the titles.”

Asked about the possibility of tapping into the recently-popularized Battle Royale genre, Zelnick remarked that the goal is to be as innovative as possible, and even good titles that are derivative never seem to do as well as unexpected innovations. He doesn’t see Take-Two’s labels being super-excited about being derivative, even if they play in the world and they’re informed of what’s happening, and it’s their job to bring consumers what they want.

If you want to read more about Take-Two’s performance in the past quarter you can check out our dedicated article.



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2K Sports Predicts the Results of the New NBA Season with NBA 2K18


After an insane offseason that saw star players moving all over the league, the 2017-2018 NBA season tips off tonight. Recently, 2K Sports, the publisher of the popular NBA 2K basketball series, utilized the newest game in the franchise, NBA 2K18, to predict the results of the upcoming season.

Using the MyLEAGUE mode within NBA 2K18, 2K Sports simulated the entirety of the upcoming NBA season to see who would take home the championship as well as seeing which players would take home individual awards.

These are just a few of the notable results from their simulation:

  • Despite so many teams in the NBA reloading, the Golden State Warriors once again came out on top and beat the Boston Celtics in five games to win their third NBA Championship in four years. Additionally, Warriors coach Steve Kerr won Coach of the Year with Kevin Durant winning another Finals MVP.
  • Many have been wondering who will win the Eastern Conference this year, and as mentioned, the addition of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward propelled the Boston Celtics into the NBA Finals. Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the regular season as the top-seed in the East, the Celtics took down LeBron James and company in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • One of the more intriguing teams in the West this year is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in the offseason. While Russell Westbrook once again won MVP, the Thunder lost in the conference semifinals to the new Chris Paul-led Houston Rockets.
  • While point guard Lonzo Ball is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year by many, the eventual winner of the award went to someone that many might have forgotten about: Ben Simmons. After missing the entirety of the 2016-2017 season, Simmons played a full year for the 76ers and averaged 16.2 points and 8.1 rebounds to take home the hardware while leading his team to their best record since 2002-2003.
  • As for the teams that didn’t do so hot, the Miami Heat finished with only 22 wins to lock up the worst record in the league. The Indiana Pacers finished with the second worst record with the Orlando Magic and Sacremento Kings tying for third. On the bright side, now they each get more ping-pong balls in the draft lottery.

While this simulation can only take into account the league rosters as they currently stand, it’s always fun to see video games predict real-life sports in this way. If you own NBA 2K18, feel free to run your own season-long simulations to see what results you get.

For more on NBA 2K18be sure to check out our review of the game.



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Destiny 2 Holds Off NBA 2K18, PES 2018, and Dishonored to Top the UK Charts For a Second Straight Week


In case somehow you missed it, Destiny 2 launched last week. And in the UK it launched to the biggest release so far this year, a title it stripped away from Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy in the process.

Now, in the 37th week, Destiny 2 is once again at the top of the charts, holding off six new releases, some of which are quite notable and a testament to just how popular Destiny is as a series.

Coming in at No.2 is the new release of NBA 2K18, the latest installment in 2K’s annual basketball simulation series. While, basketball is nowhere near as popular in the UK as it is in North America, it impressively beat the UK’s favorite sport, football, aka PES 2018, which came in at No.3, no thanks to some FIFA loyalists. Further, while PES 2018 had a launch in-line with last year’s release, NBA 2K18 had the biggest launch of a basketball game ever to date.

Rounding out the top five is Fallout 4 and last week’s No.2, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which had its own run of back-to-back No.1s not that long ago.

As for this week’s new entires, in addition to the already mentioned NBA 2K18 and PES 2018, there is Dishonored: Death of the Outsider at No.6, Metroid: Samus Returns at No.8, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition at No.11, and NHL 18 at No.23.

Below, you can view the full Top 40 for Week 37 2017 (the week ended on September 16th). As always, it’s important to note that the following chart is inclusive to retail sales in the UK, and thus does not feature digital sales of any kind.

Last Week This Week Title Age Rating Publisher
1 1 DESTINY 2 PEGI 16+ ACTIVISION
2 NBA 2K18 PEGI 3+ 2K
3 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2018 PEGI 3+ KONAMI
5 4 FALLOUT 4 PEGI 18+ BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
2 5 UNCHARTED: THE LOST LEGACY PEGI 16+ SONY COMPUTER ENT.
6 DISHONORED: DEATH OF THE OUTSIDER PEGI 18+ BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
4 7 GRAND THEFT AUTO V PEGI 18+ ROCKSTAR
8 METROID: SAMUS RETURNS PEGI 7+ NINTENDO
6 9 CRASH BANDICOOT N.SANE TRILOGY PEGI 7+ ACTIVISION
3 10 FORZA HORIZON 3 PEGI 3+ MICROSOFT
11 RAYMAN LEGENDS: DEFINITIVE EDITION PEGI 7+ UBISOFT
16 12 MARIO KART 8 DELUXE PEGI 3+ NINTENDO
7 13 F1 2017 PEGI 3+ CODEMASTERS
10 14 MARIO + RABBIDS KINGDOM BATTLE PEGI 7+ UBISOFT
14 15 LEGO WORLDS PEGI 7+ WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE
11 16 MINECRAFT: XBOX EDITION PEGI 7+ MICROSOFT
15 17 TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW 6: SIEGE PEGI 18+ UBISOFT
19 18 THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD PEGI 12+ NINTENDO
27 19 FIFA 17 PEGI 3+ EA SPORTS
8 20 DISHONORED 2 PEGI 18+ BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
9 21 DOOM PEGI 18+ BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
17 22 ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED PEGI 16+ STUDIO WILDCARD
23 NHL 18 PEGI 12+ EA SPORTS
23 24 LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER PEGI 7+ WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE
12 25 KNACK II PEGI 7+ SONY COMPUTER ENT.
30 26 HORIZON ZERO DAWN PEGI 16+ SONY COMPUTER ENT.
24 27 SPLATOON 2 PEGI 7+ NINTENDO
26 28 MINECRAFT: PLAYSTATION EDITION PEGI 7+ SONY COMPUTER ENT.
22 29 THE ESCAPISTS 2 PEGI 7+ TEAM 17
13 30 OVERWATCH: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION PEGI 12+ BLIZZARD
29 31 CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE PEGI 18+ ACTIVISION
25 32 TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON: WILDLANDS PEGI 18+ UBISOFT
28 33 RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD PEGI 18+ CAPCOM
34 34 THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM SPECIAL ED. PEGI 18+ BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
32 35 MARIO KART 7 PEGI 3+ NINTENDO
20 36 EVERYBODY’S GOLF PEGI 3+ SONY COMPUTER ENT.
21 37 MONSTER HUNTER STORIES PEGI 7+ CAPCOM
35 38 LEGO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS PEGI 7+ WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE
39 PERSONA 5 PEGI 16+ ATLUS
37 40 LEGO MARVEL AVENGERS PEGI 7+ WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE

For reference: here is last week’s chart.



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NBA 2K18’s Latest Trailer Focuses on MyTEAM Mode



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Today 2K Sports introduced a brand-new trailer for the upcoming baseball match  NBA 2K18 focusing on MyTEAM  style along with the new features being implemented this season.

According into the programmer, 2K18 may establish two  brand new ways that fans have been asking for: Draft manner as well as Super Max.

The Draft style will combine attributes from several collection methods in addition to some new identifying capabilities. According into the programmer’s website article, gamers start off by choosing a trainer, but choose sensibly, since the trainer you select will choose the match style your staff will operate. Additionally, the all-new competence system will affect your trainer’s strategy in addition to participant functionality.

Once your own team was finalized, you may play against other draft groups in best-of-seven elimination games. However, every game will pit you against another group. If your own group loses four of those seven games, you’ll be removed and shipped back to the start.

Another fresh mode coming into 2K18 this season  is Super-Max, a quality that might help balance out the playing area and include additional competitiveness into MyTeam. Super-Max is an internet, season-play attribute, which places a salary cap for internet matches. Fans will probably have to gather the very best team possible all while remaining under the salary cap for this round.

You may check out the preview below, and if you would like to view more, you can  take a look at this (b), the original announcement in addition to the latest trailer “Get Shook.

NBA 2K18  may discharge on September 19th for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Switch, Xbox One, also Xbox 360.

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