The ever increasing sales of GTA for each new release is down to 'not annualising' the franchise. For an IP "to be permanent," you need to avoid annual releases, says Zelnick.
Unless your series happens to go by the Call of Duty moniker, he notes. However Black Ops 2 sales are less than Modern Warfare 3, showing a slowdown from IP fatigue.
"It's our view that if you want intellectual property to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise," remarked Zelnick. He praised Activision's Bobby Kotick for delivering "quality product" every year with Call of Duty, but now it seems things are catching up.
Activision "obviously views the world differently," he added.
Sales of the first-person shooter from Infinity Ward and Treyarch aren't speeding up but slowing. “That's never been the case with one of ours,” noted Zelnick. “Ours do better each time. Our view is it's hard to make permanent intellectual property if you annualise it, with the exception of sports titles."
“So far that's proven to be the case. IP that is annualised eventually seems to hit the wall and we don't want our IP to hit the wall.” Analysts readily predict that 2013's Grand Theft Auto V will outstrip GTA IV in sales. Activision has already had quite the public victim of oversaturation with Guitar Hero, which was put to rest after plummeting sales.
While Take-Two stay the course avoiding annualisation of its titan IPs, Square Enix will be adopting the 'Call of Duty model' for the Hitman series bouncing development between IO Interactive and Square's new Montreal studio. Grand Theft Auto V releases on Xbox 360 and PS3 in spring 2013. Ais just shy of 90,000 signatures.