Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick spoke plainly today at the MIT Business in Gaming conference about the differences between his company's strategy on core game development and that of the floundering THQ.
"THQ's strategy was licensed properties, first and foremost. License stuff from other people, whether it's UFC or WWE or a motion picture property, and make a game around that," Zelnick said, noting Take-Two hasn't had the best year either, but a good five-year run. "And our approach, since we took over the company, is 100 percent owned intellectual property."
Zelnick stated licensed properties -- something he has avoided in his career -- leaves publishers at the mercy of license holders. Even if a publisher does a great job on a property, it will have to renegotiate the license in a few years and the margins will decrease because it's being charged more money for a brand it built up in the space. Zelnick noted THQ did partially change its strategy a few years back regarding owned intellectual strategy, but it's hard to do that overnight.
"The most important difference is quality. Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among third-party publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry. Quality really, really, really matters. THQ has had some good games, but their quality levels aren't even remotely ... the quality hasn't measured up."
"Strategy didn't work and the execution was bad. To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small." Zelnick closed his comparison of the two companies by saying, "THQ won't be around in six months."
Update: THQ responds.