Though the delayed NBA season affected NBA 2K12
's sales, Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick said the publisher prepared for that setback, and is anticipating the season's start.
When NBA 2K12
released for all current generation consoles and handhelds two months ago, it received the highest ratings for the series yet. Despite that, the game's sales are behind last year's edition, which Take-Two attributes to the NBA lockout.
Due to strained negotiations between NBA owners and players, the publisher missed out on the excitement that the basketball preseason and first six weeks of the regular season -- which were cancelled this year -- would generate for its game series.
"We obviously were aware there was a significant risk to the season, so we tried to plan accordingly," said Zelnick. "So if you look at the cover art for example, it's a pretty big departure
for us with three cover athletes."
"We tried to build excitement for the genre in hopes of saying to people, 'Look, even if there is no season or a delayed season, this is something you ought to have,'" he added, speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference today.
While Zelnick believes that helped offset the sales lost due to the lockout, he admits that the publisher still "saw some softness in consumer uptake compared to last year."
"And you know, the history of video games around delayed seasons is when the seasons are delayed or cancelled, consumers aren't as excited about interactive entertainment," he continued.
The Take-Two head is optimistic about the expected return of the NBA season now that a deal is close to being ratified: "We're hopeful that we'll see a rebound in interest with the start of the season, and yeah we'll be doing a lot of marketing around it."
"But we're doing that judiciously to make sure we deliver a highly profitable game," said Zelnick. "No matter what, this is a really profitable experience. 2K Sports is a profitable division of the company."