Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Rockstar and 2K Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive, had a lot to say at a recent telecommunications and media conference, especially when the topic turned to microtransactions.
Obviously, Take-Two banks a lot of revenue from GTA Online “Shark Cards,” which is in-game currency that you can buy with real-life money that players then spend on armored trucks, sports cars, yachts, and whatever else. So don’t expect Rockstar or its parent company to move away from that model anytime soon.
However, according to Zelnick, Take-Two is aware that it can only push its consumers so far before consumers push back.
“You can’t give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there’s no business model in that,” he said. “But we’re not trying to optimize the monetization of everything we do to the nth degree.”
That’s not to say that Take-Two doesn’t want to make more money from microtransactions. In fact, Zelnick goes on to say that Take-Two is actually making less money than it could and is exploring ways to make more without going overboard.
“There is wood to chop because I think we can do more, and we can do more without interfering with our strategy of being the most creative and our ethical approach, which is delighting consumers,” he said. “We’re not going to grab the last nickel.”
This is probably not what fans of the formerly independent Kerbal Space Program, which Take-Two recently acquired, want to hear. On the other hand, while GTA Online is raking in the cash, that hasn’t stopped millions of players from enjoying free updates on almost monthly basis for the last several years without having to spend a cent.
During the same talk, Zelnick touched on a few other interesting topics, namely VR and Take-Two’s plans for Nintendo Switch support, contrasting the install base for both platforms.
Zelnick said about the Switch that Take-Two is “there, front and center” in reference to the upcoming release of NBA 2K18 on the Nintendo console.
“It remains to be seen how [the Switch] does, but we’re excited about it,” Zelnick added. “Assuming there is an installed base, we’ll be there.”
He wasn’t so optimistic about VR, however, saying that “there is not a significant entertainment market for VR software. I think that’s a factual statement.”
However, don’t give up hope that GTA will never come to VR. Take-Two CEO wasn’t making any definitive statements, saying that if ” VR develops as a meaningful entertainment platform, we’ll be there.”
Here’s hoping that means we’ll be able to get an official version of that disturbing GTA VR mod at some point.