Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 24 hours, you would have heard the rumour going around that Sony supposedly in advanced talks to purchase Take-Two Interactive.
Take-Two, of course, own two major developers – Rockstar Games and 2K Games. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Sony would be doing this so they could have the exclusive rights to GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock, 2K Sports titles and much more… Although these are just rumours right now, and shaky ones at best, I still think this is a topic that is worth discussing, as if it were to happen, it would likely change the whole landscape of video games and consoles going forward into the next generation.
Let’s start by talking about Take-Two’s grand daddy of a money maker, GTA. There’s a good argument to be made that the GTA franchise by Rockstar games is the biggest on the market – Whenever a new addition of the game is released, it feels like a massive event. It seems like every single person who owns a games console or a PC goes out and purchases GTA on day of release come rain, wind or shine… And with the latest addition to the series being the most successful to date, with reportedly over 100 million copies sold since it’s release in 2013 – with 11.2 million of those within it’s first 24 hours – GTA V is one of, if not the most profitable video game in history… So it goes without saying that if Sony were able to get GTA VI as an exclusive to PlayStation (Let’s assume the PlayStation 5), it would be the biggest get in video game history and all-but confirm PlayStation’s future success.
But what would this mean for the industry as a whole? I don’t believe it’s as simple as ‘PlayStation has GTA so all other consoles cease to exist’! Just look at Nintendo; they’ve been thriving for years without the likes of GTA or anything from most of the big third party developers. Though I can’t help but think what this would mean for Microsoft – The future of Xbox is probably a whole topic in itself as things stand, as it seems like Microsoft seem to want to play ball and make friends with everybody right now, recently showing an eagerness to partner with both Nintendo and Steam. If Sony were to make such an aggressive move as purchasing Take-Two, effectively taking these massively popular games away from everyone else, doesn’t it paint them as the bad guys? Doesn’t it make Xbox, Nintendo and Steam – who are all willing to work with each other – look like the friendlier team? Truthfully, if all this were to happen, none of that would matter.
To the people who love and follow video games, sure, Sony might not be painted in the best light but all that would be overshadowed by the hype of GTA VI being released, maybe even as a launch title for the PlayStation 5! The casual gamers, of which a large portion of GTA players are made up of, will not care how this makes Sony look or how it has hindered the competition. All they will see is that their favourite game is coming out on PlayStation only so that’s the console they’ll buy, end of story… And let’s be honest, that’s exactly what Sony would be trying to achieve with a purchase like this.
So if this were to happen, what would be the best thing that Microsoft could do? They aren’t just going to abandon the market, they’re going to figure out a profitable way forward. They could go out at E3 this year (Which of course, Sony are skipping) and bad mouth their competitors, brag about how Xbox Game Pass aims be available everywhere no matter what hardware you own, where as the competition are just trying to monopolise the market and own everything. They could easily take what Sony did with the launch of the PS4 and make Xbox “for the players”, though unfortunately, I think the players will want to play GTA, Red Dead Redemption, NBA 2K, etc, and that’s all Sony would need to say in response. Maybe Microsoft could look at getting into the secondary console market – I have heard rumblings of a discless version of the Xbox One coming out as soon as this year and without a disc tray, gives them the option to potentially heavily undercut the competition. If they were to do this, they could easily offer a version of the Xbox One at an affordable price and maybe even throw in a few months of Game Pass for free, giving consumers incredible value for money and getting a reputation as the go-to console for streaming video games. If they were to go down this road, they could let PlayStation be the console where you play the massive AAA titles and not have to worry about games such as GTA as they would be focusing on a completely different market, offering gamers a large library of smaller games to play for a reasonable monthly price across multiple platforms.
I have also heard talk of Microsoft dropping out of the console market entirely and focusing on becoming a major publisher and / or service provider… That is a whole massive conversation that I am not going to get into right now, but if this was true and Take-Two were aware of such plans, it might make their decision to sell up to Sony a much easier one.
With all of this being said, it’s worth reminding ourselves that this is all rumour at this time, and chances are none of this will come to pass. Though if it were to happen, seeing how everything plays out in the future and how the landscape of video games would look in, say, five years’ time, would certainly be interesting to see!
Do you think there is any possibility of this deal actually happening? If so, what do you think the future holds for all involved? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…