Take-Two's Zelnick: China will let the West in eventually

Take-Two's Zelnick: China will let the West in eventually

New games will start being approved in China again, according to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference - as reported by - the exec said that the big if when it comes to this issue is whether the Chinese regulators are okay bringing Western culture into the country.

"I have no doubt approvals will start up again," Zelnick said.

"The real question is whether--and it really is a 'whether'--there comes a point where the Chinese government says, 'We're not worried that bringing Western entertainment into this country is going to be a problem, and in fact we think that bringing Western entertainment into this country will be good for our consumers and good for our entertainment economy.' I think they'll arrive at that conclusion. I think the barriers will come down, and that would have a massive effect on the space. It's already been established that the Chinese consumers love what we have to offer."

Zelnick was also asked for his two cents on streaming and the impact it will have on the market.

"I think streaming will happen," the exec said.

"There are numerous companies that are looking at it. The companies that are best positioned to pursue streaming are technology companies that have hyperscale data centers all around the world. So you know what that means; There aren't very many of those because you do have to address latency, and you do have to be pretty close to where the consumer is in order to address latency. Do I think that will happen? I'm sure it will happen. I think that will happen in one to three years.

"Does it increase the total addressable market? Naturally, it does, because you don't need to buy a box in order to play our games. You'll probably need to buy a controller, and those will be available."

Streaming, while increasing the addressable audience of publishers like Take-Two, won't mean a massive financial windfall.

"Our job is to be where the consumer is, so more, better, faster, cheaper distribution--as long as its high quality--is always good for us, because it's good for the consumer," Zelnick said.

"And generally speaking, when you make a product more widely available, more people consume it. But I can't sit here and argue it will be a sea change in the business. I know one of our competitors has argued that, but my view is we should really talk about what we can control, which is making really great content. And probably leave stuff that we can't control--massive hyperscale distribution systems--to other people, except to make the point that if they're there, we'll be there. It's the same way that if someone wanted to open a video game store next to GameStop, we'd sell to them tomorrow."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.