Only really 4 AAA publishers left, says Take-Two boss

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The triple AAA game space is shrinking. It certainly feels that way – there are fewer great big studios and publishers than there were just 10 years ago, leaving just the companies that can actually afford to make games able. There are fewer AAA publishers – and Take-Two is pretty happy about that.

“The truth is that we’re blessed in that the shelf is way less crowded today than it was at the beginning of the last console cycle,” Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick said – Speaking at the Cowen and Company’s 43rd Annual Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference. “There’s been a big shake out. It’s pretty hard to make AAA products that are really competitive. We are not the only company that does it, but we’re one of four companies, really, that do it. And we see ourselves as number three in the business. I think most people see it that way, and our revenue certainly stacks up that way.”

There are far, far more smaller publishers, developers and studios, but Zelnick doesn’t see them as competition.

“I was asked recently in a similar setting, ‘What do you think about all these entrepreneurs who are working independently to create independent games?’ And the answer is I think it’s really interesting and we’re aiming to learn more,” Zelnick said. “But to be clear, they cannot do what we do. There is no opportunity to make a AAA game in a garage. Those days are long gone. You need at least 100 people working on a title for at least two or three years. That is a very expensive, complex, difficult undertaking.”

Back to the four AAA houses – and ignoring first parties – which one might he mean? Obviously Activision and EA, and probably Ubisoft in at third – which is a bit of a slap in the face to places like Square Enix, Warner Bros  Bethesda and Capcom.

Not taking indies, mobile pubs and other publishers seriously is also a little strange, seeing as Tencent, King, and DeNA actually make more money.

Last Updated: May 29, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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