Published on: 02/06/2022
Grand Theft Auto CEO ‘sceptical’ about companies that bet on blockchain, metaverse
In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick said that he is “sceptical” towards companies that only use “metaverse” without further research and “investing behind buzzwords” that could potentially harm their own customers.
Take-Two Interactive is a video game company behind successful names like Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and the Red Dead series.
“I’m always sceptical about buzzwords because they mean different things to different people, and people investing behind buzzwords probably don’t end up having great results,” Zelnick said.
“I think where my scepticism lies is every company suddenly believing that by saying the word ‘metaverse’ adjacent to their company’s business strategy, that means that somehow they’ll be transformed and nirvana is around the corner, and naturally that’s not the case.”
Companies such as Sony, Epic, Lego, Meta, Krafton, Bandai Namco and Microsoft are all planning their own takes on the concept.
Big names such as Microsoft, Lego x Epic, Meta, and Sony are dipping their toes into the metaverse concept, where users can play and work in a network of 3D virtual spaces.
Speaking about the metaverse itself, Zelnick noted that Rockstar already has its own successful metaverse in GTA Online where it gained massive traction among players and streamers alike for their roleplays (RP) in the game.
“I’m not sceptical at all about huge, interactive, dynamic, entertaining worlds because our company is responsible for housing, minimally, three of them,” he added.
“The biggest on Earth, Grand Theft Auto Online, and Red Dead Redemption Online and then NBA 2K online, and others to come.”
Zelnick also slammed some companies that directly offered subscription services for their game at launch, without knowing if the game would be generally accepted by the players or not.
“When a company that didn’t exist two years ago launches with a white paper, a blockchain-based metaverse and sells hundreds of millions of dollars of digital real estate in a two-day period, sure, I’m a little sceptical,” the CEO said.
“We can’t afford to turn our business upside down in a way that doesn’t make sense economically,” Zelnick said. “So there always has to be an intersection between what the consumer wants and what the publisher is able to do, and it doesn’t make sense to do that for frontline properties in our opinion.”
Take-Two published games, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto 5 did not put subscription services like in Xbox Game Pass for players directly on day one, but it takes years following GTA V’s release back in 2013.
“This company does not operate based on one person’s opinions, including mine, and when it makes sense we’ll support subscription services, and if that’s where the consumer wants to be, that’s where we’ll be,” he added.
The fifth installment of Grand Theft Auto earned an estimated $800 million on its premiere and hit $1 billion two days later, arguably one of the most successful games of all time.
Back in February, Zelnick expressed his thoughts on the possibility of integrating NFTs into Take-Two games.
“We believe in rare goods, we believe in collectibles. The concern we have is that there’s a speculation going on,” he said, as per Metro UK.
“We want to make sure that consumers always have a good experience every time they engage with our properties and losing money on a speculation is not a good experience, so we’re going to stay away from speculation. However, we’re highly convinced there’s an opportunity for NFTs to fit with Take-Two’s offerings in the future.”