Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take Two Interactive, publisher of numerous popular games franchises in the 2K Sports series, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and others has spoken out about potentially “under-monetizing” players of their games with microtransactions.
According to Zelnick, “You can’t give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there’s no business model in that,” he said at a recent investor conference.
We’re not going to grab the last nickel
“There is wood to chop,” says Zelnick. Assumingly he means they can charge people more. Yep, that’s exactly what he means as he continues “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 customers.”
Zelnick’s views on the monetization of Take Two’s games probably don’t align with that of those who play them. GTA Online definitely does have a captive audience, but there’s also quite a large base of players of that game that believe that the Shark Card Microtransactions are an absolute rip-off. The same can be said for the NBA 2K series which sells virtual currency as well and uses free-to-play tactics to try and entice players to spend money. Sure, you don’t HAVE to spend anything, you can just work the game as if you would work a job.
In the seven years that have passed since the release of Red Dead Redemption, a lot has changed in terms of the way that games are monetized. Red Dead Redemption 2, which recently got delayed, could very well feel the impact of this stance by the CEO. We’ll have to wait and see, but given the success of GTA Online it’s hard to imagine RDR2 not launching with something similar in place.