Jul 31, 2023 - Technology

Take Two Interactive execs' pay doubled this year

Digital redemption card for Take-Two's popular NBA 2K series, including for in-game virtual currency. Photo: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NBA 2K and Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive is paying its two top executives $72,350,718 this year — a number that could go far higher based on some factors, including an uptick in player microtransaction spending.

Driving the news: The pay, disclosed in Take-Two's annual proxy filing to shareholders and offered as a mix of cash and stock, is more than double the execs' 2022 compensation of $30,040,000.

  • The execs, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick and company president Karl Slatoff, are paid jointly through their management company, ZMC, in a contract that calls for, at most, a 60/40 split for Zelnick.

Between the lines: A large portion of the ZMC pay ($43,8 million) is tied to company performance, and nearly 25% of that to something directly relevant to players: an expected increase in recurrent consumer spending (aka repeated spending on microtransactions).

  • Take-Two has long pushed recurrent consumer spending as a company priority, and its games are filled with offers to buy extra items and perks for a few more dollars.
  • Microtransactions are also core to the business model of mobile games, and Take-Two bought one of the industry's biggest, Zynga, last year.
  • Last year, ZMC entered a new contract with Take-Two that more heavily weighted performance goals around recurrent spending.

Be smart: ZMC's 2023 compensation included $0 from a near miss of a multimillion-dollar incentive tied to the company's earnings, but the $43.8 million based partially on microtransactions could drop if the goals, calculated over multiple years, are missed — or double, if they're greatly exceeded.

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