“We’re going to reach a point where you won’t be able to tell the difference between what’s created in the computer and what’s real,” says Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick. “That doesn’t mean we’ll do it for all of our games. This promise of taking certain titles, like basketball, and making it truly look like live-action is pretty close now. Squint a little bit and it looks like live-action (even now). That’s really exciting and that gives our creative folks a new canvas on which to paint.”
Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software, the company behind such games as Grand Theft Auto, Borderlands, and NBA 2K, discusses the future of gaming in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:
Eventually, You Won’t Know What’s Real or Not in Computer Games
We have a new console generation coming and that’s going to allow us to do some things that we haven’t been able to do before creatively. That’s exciting. But as I’ve said before, we’re going to reach a point where you won’t be able to tell the difference between what’s created in the computer and what’s real. That doesn’t mean we’ll do it for all of our games. Borderlands, for example, is an animated universe and it’s always going to be an animated universe.
But this promise of taking certain titles, like basketball and making it truly look like live-action is pretty close now. Squint a little bit and it looks like live-action. That’s really exciting and that gives our creative folks a new canvas on which to paint.
Our Strategy Is To Make the Best Entertainment
We’re incredibly grateful to our creative teams and they keep delivering. The reason they deliver is that our strategy is to make the best entertainment. We are focused on being the most creative, the most efficient, and the most innovative company in the entertainment business. We don’t always succeed but that’s what we aim to do every day. We’re really happy with how NBA 2K is doing and by the way, we’re happy with how (our competitor) Fortnite is doing. Hits are good for the marketplace.
NBA 2K19 has now sold 12 million units and recurrent consumer spending was up 140 percent in the quarter. It is extraordinary. It used to be about a three-month experience. It’s now a nine or ten-month experience. Our goal is to make that a 12-month experience. It never ends, it just gets better and better. In China, we have our online games. So NBA 2K online in China we launched the second iteration and that title is up 75 percent year-over-year. We have 46 million registered users. It remains the number one PC Sports title in China.
We’re still saying there are 110 million users for Grand Theft Auto. But you should know, in the past six months, five out of those six months it’s been a top ten title. And Grand Theft Auto Online set a new record in the first quarter. That’s before the launch of Casino Pack which is huge. Rockstar Games has done an amazing job and Social Casino is a big part of the interactive entertainment business. It’s great to be in the social casino business now through Red Ded Online and Grand Theft Auto Online.
Give An Audience Something That’s Fantastic And They Show Up
The conventional wisdom before the launch of the first Red Dead Redemption was westerns don’t work in interactive entertainment. Truth is if you give an audience something that’s unexpected and fantastic they show up for it. Red Dead Redemption 2 has now sold 25 million units. Very few titles can rise to the level of Rockstar Games titles. and if Borderlands 3 became close to Red Dead Redemption 2, we’d be just thrilled.
The truth is that Borderlands 3, coming out in September, is shaping up to be a massive title. The catalog has been selling great. The margins are high and consumers are really loving it. A concern that we had is that it’s been almost eight years since Borderlands 2 and you wonder whether you know consumers see that as a fresh title. The buzz is saying absolutely yes.
It’s Disrespectful To Point the Finger At Entertainment
This is a terrible and tragedy a senseless tragedy. It’s fun to talk about entertainment but lives were we’re lost. The truth is it’s disrespectful to the victims and the families to point the finger at entertainment. Entertainment is part of people’s daily joy. It’s consumed worldwide and it’s the same worldwide. However, gun violence is uniquely American. That has to change and that will only change if we address the real issues.