Take-Two teases F2P future for Battleborn

Take-Two Interactive Software may be considering a F2P re-launch for Battleborn, as teased during a quarterly Earnings Call. Nothing has been officially announced, but CEO and Chairman Strauss H. Zelnick mentioned Evolve Stage 2‘s success when discussing the future of Gearbox‘s new IP.

Earnings Call transcript:

Timothy Larkin O’Shea – Jefferies LLC

Yes. Hi. Thank you for taking my questions. So, obviously, you guys have had a lot of success developing new franchises over the past few years. But more recently, it seems like new IP like Battleborn are seeing greater challenges at launch.

So the question is – now that you have 9 or 10 large franchises, does this start to make sense to prioritize investment towards that existing IP instead of trying to launch new franchises? I do appreciate Strauss’s comments about the importance of creativity and maybe not how everything works out, but I’m just curious how you think about this and whether your thinking has evolved over time. Thank you.

Strauss H. Zelnick – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Tim, it’s a fair question. And I think one has to be careful with the success we’ve had, because we’ve launched at least one new hit IP every year – nearly every year since 2007 – not every year but nearly every year.

And, obviously, that’s why we have titles like Red Dead and titles like Borderlands and BioShock and, more recently, why we were able to add WWE to the mix because of that willingness, that openness and, frankly, our risk profile. And we are capitalized now to take on that risk.

So tempting as it may be to rest on our laurels, and we do have 11 franchises that have each sold over 5 million units in individual release. There is something like 60 that have sold, I think, 2 million units at least – and 60 releases that have sold at least 2 million units. It’s tempting to do that. But of course, at the end of the day, you run the risk that the enterprise doesn’t grow in that circumstance.

So while one definitely has a reduced risk profile, when you put out a sequel versus new IP, I think, it’s both our obligation and our opportunity to do both. How we do that is an open question. And there are opportunities to moderate risk in so doing. And, also, the world allows you now – the world of interactive entertainment allows you now to have more than one bite at the apple.

So with regard to Battleborn, we’re being very frank about where we are, because we’re a transparent company. We’re still delivering new content to Battleborn. Audiences love Battleborn. We still have virtual currency coming for Battleborn. We’re not counting it out for a minute. We’re just telling you where we’re at now. And equally, we just launched Evolve Stage 2, which is another way to express the IP of Evolve. And we’ve had over 1 million people sign up to play Evolve Stage 2, and that’s super exciting.

So the world has changed. It’s unforgiving in that we invest a lot of money in new IP. It’s much more forgiving in that we can have consumers be part of our release. We can iterate with them. We can come back and play another day. And if your watchword is quality, there are great opportunities. Say what you will, the consumers actually really have said great things about Battleborn, as have the critics.

So we’re still encouraged by our approach to bringing back beloved sequels while creating new intellectual property. And we do have to be careful, of course, to balance our investment and our risk with the opportunity. And there is a little bit of science in there, a little bit of art in there, but that’s one of the things we do every day.

Timothy Larkin O’Shea – Jefferies LLC

Thank you, Strauss. I appreciate the comments.

As always, take this news with a grain of salt, as no official announcement has been made concerning Battleborn‘s future.

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