Take-Two: the industry is strong and any consolidation will come from outside

THQ Nordic’s surprise purchase of Koch Media last week followed a period of rumours about whether Microsoft would stock up on first-party exclusives by purchasing a major publisher. And then of course there’s Tencent, which has acquired numerous companies in recent years and made investments in many, many more.

However, Strauss Zelnick, the Take-Two CEO doesn’t think that the big publishers or platform holders are going to be purchasing each other anytime soon. Speaking to MCV Zelnick said: "I don’t think there’s a crying need for consolidation."

"You know the biggest companies in the business, ourselves, EA, Activision we’re all significantly larger than the minimum size you need to have a critical mass, which is to say to invest in very expensive development, to invest in worldwide marketing teams to invest in the marketing and advertising itself.

We all have strong balance sheets. I don’t think there’s any earmarks in this industry that are crying out for consolidation to benefit the business. This is a growth business, probably going to be a growth business for the next 25 years. It’s the fastest growing part of the Audiovisual entertainment business."

However he notes that speed could be attractive to those outside of the industry.

"What could drive it was the desire of a bigger media-focused enterprise to have exposure to the fastest growing part of the entertainment business, but I would observe that hasn’t happened yet."

And by ‘media-focused enterprises’ we can think of Disney obviously, plus the likes of Vivendi (which seems to have stepped away from Ubisoft for now), Viacom, Comcast and Time Warner. All of which have annual revenue figures that are multiples of even EA’s.

And that feeling is supported by industry analyst Joost van Dreunen at Superdata: "Historically the games industry has been un-concentrated, according to FCC standards, because it is such a hit-driven market. I don’t see that changing."

And that’s despite a potential boom period for these companies: "With the major platforms looking for exclusive content it is a great time for a creative industry like gaming, because developers and publishers will be able to get support and funding for their projects."

"Similarly in traditional media, where we see Netflix taking market share from TV broadcasters and cable companies, Hollywood is making a mint as all of these platforms are looking to invest in exclusive and appealing content."

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