Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick will remain in charge of the publisher of NBA 2K and Grand Theft Auto into 2029, according to a new contract extension. And more of his pay than ever will be tied to in-game microtransactions, which may include NFTs.
Why it matters: Gaming CEOs’ multimillion-dollar pay packages often include performance incentives that help articulate their company’s priorities.
Recent notables include goals for the CEOs at Activision and Ubisoft tying some pay to hiring more women and lessening their company’s carbon footprint.
State of play: One of Zelnick’s goals, tied to “recurrent consumer spending,” (RCS) involves player purchases of add-on content, in-game items and virtual currency. The company’s definition shared in an SEC filing yesterday includes all of that and the sale of NFTs.
Take-Two hasn’t hidden the fact that they want players to keep buying more and more things in their games.
Their top titles, including NBA 2K and GTA Online, are famous — and notorious — for being loaded with microtransactions that some users say make them feel nickel-and-dimed.
But many players buy in. Take-Two generated $548 million in RCS in the last three months of 2021, more than it made from the sale of full games.
The details: Zelnick’s RCS goal, along with other incentives, can net him millions of dollars of stock each year.
The incentive isn’t new, just tweaked, with RCS growth weighted more heavily than it used to be.
And it’s been lucrative. Last year, Zelnick and company president Karl Slatoff together netted over $31 million in stock in performance incentives.
If they’d missed the RCS target, they’d have gotten about $3.9 million less.