Take Two CEO: GTA Online ‘has transformed’ Rockstar’s game development

Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GamesIndustry recently that the publisher would like to release a major AAA game every single year. This isn’t happening in 2017 due to Red Dead Redemption 2’s delay into 2018. Strauss told them that the release of Battleborn was a disappointing one for the company:

2K had a really good season this past year, but it was, for the company, still relatively thin. And it didn’t help that Battleborn wasn’t a big success. So part of it is the level of success, part of it is the schedule, and part of it is finding the human resources to actually take the intellectual property that we own and bring them to market.

Zelnick would add that the company didn’t intend to have no real AAA title in 2017 and a somewhat weaker fiscal year, adding:

But it wasn’t intentional, and obviously fiscal 2019 will look much better with the launch of Red Dead 2 and a huge new title from 2K, as well as the 2K Sports titles, catalogue, recurrent consumer spending, NBA2K Online in China, Social Point and the like.

Finally, Zelnick would admit that the success of GTA Online has “transformed” Rockstar as a developer. It was strongly rumored back in 2013 that GTA V would get some sort of significant single-player DLC and its believed that the billions Take Two makes off GTA Online alone since its release in 2013 has caused the developer to shift their priorities from developing new AAA titles and single player experiences to focusing on their online juggernauts.

We are moving in the direction of that goal, David has outlined his five-year plan that will get us part way there. Obviously we know what Rockstar tends to do. And Rockstar’s activities have been transformed by Grand Theft Auto Online.

GTA Online has really been a huge success financially. GTA V overall has sold over 70 million copies, almost the best selling non-bundled game in history.

With millions of gamers buying cash cards for GTA Online everyday, it would be stupid to ignore this source of income. Take Two makes $1 billion annually off GTA Online.

You can only imagine how much of an emphasis they will put on RDR2’s online components.