Take-Two Interactive CEO Talks Red Dead Online, Battle-Royale, Fortnite, and Games-As-A-Service

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(Photo: Rockstar Games)

Speaking to Gamedaily, Take-Two Interactive -- the parent company of Rockstar Games and 2K -- CEO Strauss Zelnick talked about a plethora of video game-related topics, including investors meeting buzzword "games-as-a-service," battle-royale, Fornite, and even a little about its upcoming game Red Dead Redemption 2.

According to Zelnick, while the "games-as-a-service" trend has swept up the industry, it "sort of misses the point" and its something Rockstar doesn't have to get too caught up in thinking about. The CEO notes that the company's attention is all directed towards "captivating and engaging consumers with the best entertainment anyone makes, of any sort, and if we do that and then we give consumers even more great stuff to engage with it should work out well, and naturally the revenues and the profits will follow."

As you can see, rather than focusing on building an experience within the confines of being a service, the CEO and co. are more concerned about delivering the best piece of entertainment possible, and naturally, a stream of revenue will follow.

Speaking of streams of revenue, the general perception is that single-player games are dying, at least big AAA single-player games, because they don't have the same profit potential their multiplayer counterparts have. And this is, mostly, undeniably true. But like some others, Zelnick thinks talk of single-player games dying is overblown.

According to Zelnick, Take-Two and Rockstar Games are still "in the entertainment business, and there is no reason to believe consumers have lost interest in single-player if the single-player is good. There is no reason to believe you can create a service [that sells] if the service isn't great."

Still, while Take-Two still believes in creating exemplary single-player experiences, its next release, Red Dead Redemption 2, will follow a similar template of its most successful game of all time, which is also its most recent release, Grand Theft Auto V. Thus, naturally, there will be a long revenue tail after release, but at the moment, monetizing that tail as Rockstar finishes the game isn't a chief concern.

"We have Red Dead Online coming, and Rockstar's announced that, so clearly that's intended to be an expression of ongoing engagement after the initial sale. What we haven't talked about is any path to monetization because it's just not our primary concern. Our primary concern is keeping consumers engaged."

Zelnick also talked about another industry trend: battle-royale. At the moment, battle-royale hasn't been unveiled for the game, though previous leaks suggests there is at least a mode akin to the sub-genre within. However, the CEO believes jumping on the battle-royale bandwagon 'just cause,' is a bad thing to do.

"We've used battle royale mechanics before. I wouldn't rule it out, but any mechanic you use would want to be in service of the core entertainment experience, and would be consumer-focused."

The CEO continued, talking about Fortnite.

"No one is looking for a clone of Fortnite. I wish we had Fortnite — we don't — so wishing we had Fortnite is not going to help me. You can't possibly believe that battle-royale is the only mechanic that has captured people's attention that interact with entertainment."

Zelnick opted to not rule out battle-royale appearing in Red Dead Redemption 2 via Red Dead Online.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, slated to release on October 26th.


Thanks, VGR.