Serious: GTA 6 Competitor - Wish I could raise the funds

Bit of a rant sorry:

I am so fucking angry I am not a Managing Director or VP. 

Rockstar games just announced that the next version of GTA 5 will be released in March of 2022 and honestly this is just a slap to the face of their core fanbase that brought them to where they are today.

It cost about $200m to develop and to date has generated Billions of dollars in revenue, it has been 8 years and they continue to make distasteful decisions because they know no one else is competing with them. Honestly at the moment Rockstar games is a monopoly in the realistic open world genre because other video game companies just do not have as much access to capital. 

Due to the fact I work in finance (still an analyst), I have seen even mediocre senior bankers form spinoff HF's and and PE funds and raise billions with the promise of measly single or at best double digit returns. It really grinds my gears that I am not more senior like MD level because I would immediately start a VC type Video Game focused fund hell bent on beating Rockstar at their own game, pun intended. I genuinely believe it would be a financial slam dunk. 

To me the fact that no one has attempted this yet is so annoying because I know its because most of the bankers and finance professionals that have the clout to raise these amounts of money are boomers so they would not really be interested in putting it into a video game. But I can almost guarantee that an open world crime game that would respect its fanbase and is an alternative to rockstar would make billions on their investment.

If you don't believe me look at this example: "IN A NUTSHELL - KURZGESAGT" used to be the only animated general knowledge channel on YouTube and as a result they raked in millions of views and also tended to drag their feet when it came to releasing videos (at the end of their videos they would always say its because of their quality). I remember one year they only released at most 3 videos. This was until "the infographics show" came alone and started making the same videos in a rapid fire format and not only beat them in views but also subscribers, proving that it can be done. Sure enough "In a nutshell" tried to get off their ass and as of recent started putting out more content but the damage has been done and they are now sharing their space with a company who had the foresight to attack their monopoly. 

I 100% guarantee that the next company to challenge Rockstar will do the same and seriously rock the boat, I hope to see that happen soon, if not give me about 15 years. 

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Comments (19)

  • Prospect in IB - ECM
Sep 10, 2021 - 5:46am

If it was that easy, someone would have done it lol it is not as easy as pouring some millions and making billions. Rockstar has a great reputation earned after decades of producing top quality. Even though they don't produce a lot of titles, when they do it, it becomes a top sales title. Everyone knows their titles, even people that has no idea about videogames knows what GTA is. They benefit from network effects, as the online game is such an important part now. I don't think that it's that easy or plausible to beat them at their own game.. In order to do so, it would be necessary to do something disrputive (ie Fortnite)

  • Prospect in IB - ECM
Sep 10, 2021 - 5:59am

Also your most important premise is that "an open world crime game that would respect its fanbase and is an alternative to rockstar would make billions on their investment."... There is a chicken-egg problem. You assume that it would be highly succesful because it would respect its fanbase, but first of all, you would need a fanbase. It takes a long time delivering quality to develop it; you can not sell a product only on the promise that you will take care of the fanbase/consumer in the years to come. Also if the game had even moderate success, and considering how much capital and time does it take to develop that kind of game,  Rockstar would probably crush you once they took you seriously. 

I am not saying that it would be impossible to do it, for sure it is possible, but it is highly unlikely, while you are assuming that it is highly likely that the investment would make billions...

Sep 10, 2021 - 11:49am

I think you're right when your mention that it's not that easy. But I really do believe that if you have a good product with reasonable advertising word would get around. I remember when Saints Row was considered to be the next GTA before it turned into a Sci Fi game and it didn't have as much of a history.

Plus since we're in fantasy land here, if I could raise $1bn for example i'll get Elon Musk on the line and get him to be face of the company then boom! You have fanboys already.

Sep 11, 2021 - 11:09am

Actually, if you have enough money (like 1bn+), you could theoretically use it to poach the best team and make a good marketing campaign. Even if it's the company's first game, they could easily make a lot of noise if they first announced it at E3 and from time to time released trailers to keep people hyped - see: CD Projekt Red. They first announced Cyberpunk 2077 back in 2013 and already got a lot of hype then, like 2+ years before The Witcher III came out and made them a household name.

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Sep 10, 2021 - 12:18pm

This is a another topic but gaming now just sucks. These companies could care less about innovating and releasing groundbreaking titles (Activision, Bethesda, etc). Instead, they release unfinished products because they know "gamers" are dumb enough to spend their money on anything. Now that the latest series of consoles have been released, it takes even longer to develop games to meet the graphics demands. Probably why Fortnite and Apex have been so successful. It's free, simple, and fun to play. No waiting five to ten years in between games to get an unfinished, shitty product. 

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Sep 10, 2021 - 12:30pm

Finally a topic I have experience in. Over 12000 hours played in high school (still got into HYPS so @me).

but seriously though game development is an extremely difficult and competitive space. There are a lot of people in the space with passion, which means you're facing a lot more competition than the waste management industry, because nobody is going into waste management because of passion. Idk if anyone listens to Invest like the Best here, but they had a game dev on and listening to him was pretty interesting. It is a completely product-focused space. The only thing that matters is the product, and you have to keep innovating and updating that product routinely. I think capital allocation skills are less important than consumer insights and product management, so not something generally us finance bros have the skills for. We also grossly overestimate how many successful games there are, because there are only very few, that really get to the numbers you're talking about. Even large companies like EA release plenty of flops. And I think the problem is that if a billionaire VC spent $200m or smth to make a new competing game to Skyrim or GTA or whatever, the new game would just be worse than the original. I think the video game industry is one where having a core vision, that you know consumers will agree with. Its extremely important to have this sort of management team with vision. The problem is, when these visionaries succeed, they generally just sit on the cash cow model and don't innovate at all.

Sep 10, 2021 - 3:41pm

i.can.make.it 

It really grinds my gears that I am not more senior like MD level because I would immediately start a VC type Video Game focused fund hell bent on beating Rockstar at their own game, pun intended. I genuinely believe it would be a financial slam dunk. 

To me the fact that no one has attempted this yet is so annoying because I know its because most of the bankers and finance professionals that have the clout to raise these amounts of money are boomers so they would not really be interested in putting it into a video game. But I can almost guarantee that an open world crime game that would respect its fanbase and is an alternative to rockstar would make billions on their investment.

What about Saint's Row, the open world crime game which is being rebooted for it's fifth release February 2022. Why do you think Rockstar is releasing March 2022?

Of course the analyst is on here saying it grinds their gears they aren't an MD so they could raise money to fund an investing slam dunk because there are no competitors yet. If only the boomers could be visionaries like this analyst. 

Sep 10, 2021 - 3:52pm

Monty Burns

Never played GTA but I loved Rockstar because of the Arkham games

Rockstar didn't make the Arkham games.

Array

Sep 11, 2021 - 9:44am

Thinking of how cyberpunk 2077 came out, it really makes you think that a lot of effort went into rdr2 and gtaV. The optimistic part of me thinks the online sales and rereleases help fund the R+D portion for their new games. It just takes one bad launch to ruin your reputation (see CDPR) which they had to launch before it was ready since it was their only product.

  • Analyst 1 in Risk Mnmgt
Sep 11, 2021 - 10:45am

The posters above have summarized the reasons pretty well above why it doesn't necessarily make sense for some fund to bankroll the next GTA (would require large start up costs to build infrastructure, would need to attract talent, a lot of games flop or die early on.) There's also uncertain cash flows and timing issues that make financing it hard. That being said, if I was Bezos rich, I'd totally throw money at making my own game studio to make whatever dumb ideas I have since I would be super curious what an openworld RPG like Skyrim would be like if you threw $400mm at it or an RTS that would have a similar amount of money. If you aren't developing purely for profit, you can save time by not porting games to weaker consoles, not spend as much time optimizing for lower end systems, and you can also benefit from losing some of the GaaS stuff.

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  • PM in HF - Other
Sep 11, 2021 - 5:56pm

Did you do a STEM degree? Have you ever helped program or create a technical project from inception to finish? Know anyone in the industry?

As someone who went to a STEM college and has known people who worked at EA/Ubisoft and smaller studios. You folks are really over-glamorizing this industry and the goals. Truly in the last 5 years the industry has morphed to basically any other major entertainment industry. The most ambitious projects are controlled by "visionaries" who have little business sense and need to work hard with business leaders who like many on this site would worry about FCF. This is like saying I want to take on disney and create better marvel movies. Extremely difficult industry, treats employees like crap, even though end product looks good the process to get there is not enjoyable.

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Sep 12, 2021 - 6:35pm

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