But he does think it will make everyone’s games bigger, better, and more ambitious.
Feb 6, 2023 11:35 pm
Feb 6, 2023 11:33 pm
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick is known for being very upfront with media and investors about where he thinks technology, especially around games, is heading. And during today’s earnings call, Zelnick made his thoughts clear on a subject that’s recently been popular in tech circles: artificial intelligence, and whether or not it will transform game development.
Zelnick offered a lengthy response to a question about AI technology like ChatGPT, opening by noting his own historic skepticism around overwrough technology hype and saying that while AI stands for artificial intelligence, “there is no such thing as artificial intelligence.”
That said, he’s “really excited” about the current leaps being made by AI and machine learning, and believes that tools are actively being created that will eventually reduce development costs in gaming. However, he doesn’t think it’s going to impact overall cost structure – because if development becomes easier, he says, developers and publisher will simply want to do even more.
“The belief among college students [is] that ChatGPT is now going to allow them to make a query and send their homework. The problem is if the question is, ‘Describe what actually happened on the night of Paul Revere’s ride’, and everyone gets the same question, which you do in class, and everyone uses ChatGPT, oops, everyone’s going to submit the same essay, last time I checked.
“ChatGPT is today’s hand calculator. When I was a kid, there was no such thing, I hate to admit, but it’s true, so I had to do math longhand. And then hand calculators came along and parents were up in arms and thought, ‘Oh kids won’t have to learn math anymore,’ and the answer is yes, you still have to learn math, turns out, you absolutely have to learn math, but you have a tool that makes it easier to do. And ChatGPT is the same thing.
“We are ushering in a very exciting era of new tools and they’re going to allow our teams and our competitors’ teams to do really interesting things more efficiently, so we’re going to want to do more, we’re going to want to be even more creative. And no, it’s not going to allow someone to say, ‘Please develop the competitor to Grand Theft Auto that’s better than Grand Theft Auto’, and then they just send it out and ship it digitally and that will be that. People will try, but that won’t happen.”
Every IGN Grand Theft Auto Review
Additionally, Zelnick offered some commentary on another technological topic: cloud gaming. When asked about this subject, Zelnick acknowledged Take-Two believed in the tech and had, in fact, been an early supporter of recently defunct Google Stadia.
That said, he’s not convinced it’s revolutionary, especially after what happened to Stadia specifically.
“Cloud gaming is a technology, not a business model,” he said. “It’s a distribution technology. And our view is broader distribution is always a good thing in the entertainment business. If we can reach more consumers with our properties we’re happy to do it as long as the terms make sense, and I think broader distribution over time probably benefits us in any number of ways including the cost of distribution which I believe will go down over time.
“That said, I’ve never felt like cloud gaming would represent a seismic change, because I think if you’re prepared to pay $60 or $70 for a frontline title, you’re also prepared to buy a console, and I think Stadia found that out. So bringing high quality titles to consumers that don’t have consoles will probably have an effect around the edges but I don’t think it’ll be a revolution in the business. I think it will be more an evolution in the business. And there are still technical challenges to be addressed.”
Zelnick also offered commentary to IGN on other topics connected to the earnings, including the impact of GTA 6 leaks on Take-Two’s business plans, and a very, very loose release window for Ghost Story Games’ Judas.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.