Sometimes people forget that the video gaming industry is not all about fun and games.
In the marketing and business side of the gaming industry, for example, game release dates are majorly important in maintaining a fan base and brand image.
One of the most anticipated games is GTA V, the fifth installment in the uber violent, super sexual, and awesomely fun Grand Theft Auto series. It’s not only Take-Two’s best-selling game, but it’s also slated to be the best-selling video game of all time, according to analyst Michael Pachter.
Gaming analysts are basing their release date predictions for GTA V based on the contract expiration date of the game’s primary developers.
GTA’s main masterminds Les Benzies, Sam and Dan Houser’s contracts with the Take-Two gaming company are due to expire in January 2012, which is prompting speculation for the game’s release date.
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said, “We fully expect the next installment of Grand Theft Auto to be released by Q4:12 at the latest, as the company’s contracts with the three employees most instrumental in the game’s development (Les Benzies, Sam and Dan Houser) expire in January 2012.”
He mentions that this end date might just force developers to work overtime to meet a January 2012 release date. ”In our view, management would have been irresponsible to enter into a contract with the three without some type of milestone for delivery of the game prior to expiration,” said Pachter.
Pachter also mentions that delivering a game by the contract expiration date gives the developers leveraging power to negotiate new contracts stating, “[The developers] leverage with Take-Two is lessened without a game, and their ability to work for a competitor is similarly diminished.”
GTA, Take-Two’s biggest seller and what is predicted to be the best-selling video game of all time, needs to be released in a timely manner.
Pachter goes on to explain, “The problem with delays of games like L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3 is that they distract the key members of the Grand Theft Auto team. While we are optimistic about both games following the success of Red Dead Redemption, neither is likely to sell more than 5 million units, while the next GTA may become the best selling game of all time, selling over 20 million units.”
When it comes down to business, Take-Two needs to be sharpish when it comes to releasing GTA mainly because it’s a huge money maker. ”Take-Two management must strike a balance, and must ensure that work on the company’s most valuable property takes precedence over all other titles,” added Pachter.
Whether or not Take-Two’s management is making a mistake by pushing other games that just delay GTA’s release or not, there’s no doubt that it will be a hit when finally released.