The metaverse is slowly eeking its way into all sorts of media with most companies embracing, from Epic Games to Sony and even LEGO. Most will agree that these businesses are investing in the metaverse for more money, so it was odd hearing Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick claim it'll have the opposite effect.
Take-Two Interactive has a reputation for trying to squeeze lotlots of money from players with their full-priced games. As the owners of 2K and Rockstar Games, they enabled plenty of unnecessary in-game purchases with NBA 2K and Grand Theft Auto Online. Seeing them take denounce the metaverse like this is appreciated, if not weird.
Take-Two doesn’t believe in “buzzwords”
Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Zelnick was asked about the metaverse and revealed that he was skeptical about this online venture. Zelnick feels that investing in buzzwords will be catastrophic, especially as the metaverse is an unproven commodity. For example, even those who know what it is can't explain why its worth using.
While that hasn’t stopped other companies, we’re surprised that Take-Two Interactive isn’t one of them.
“I think where my scepticism lies is every company suddenly believing that by saying the word ‘metaverse’ adjacent to their company’s business strategy,” says Zelnick. “That means that somehow they’ll be transformed and nirvana is around the corner, and naturally that’s not the case.”
No GTA crypto crap either
Not only did Zelnick shut down the metaverse but the Take-Two Interactive CEO also expressed heavy about the blockchain. With NFTs invading games and making already egregious economies even worse — looking at you, Ni No Kuni — Zelnick is seemingly against making things worse.
“Entertaining people is really hard, building hip properties is incredibly hard. It costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time and there’s a massive amount of risk to it,” says Zelnick. “So when a company that didn’t exist two years ago launches with a white paper, a blockchain-based metaverse and sells hundreds of millions of dollars of digital real estate in a two-day period, sure, I’m a little skeptical."
Considering how Take-Two monetises games these days, this is truly the case of the worst person you know making a great point.
Who needs the metaverse when you have GTA Online?
Despite being reluctant about the blockchain-based metaverse, Zelnick isn’t skeptical about why people would find the idea appealing. Online worlds continue to be a fun way for gamers to have fun and relieve some stress, which is something Zelnick is very familiar with since Take-Two publishes GTA Online.
“I’m not sceptical at all about huge, interactive, dynamic, entertaining worlds because our company is responsible for housing, minimally, three of them,” the CEO says. “The biggest on Earth, Grand Theft Auto Online, and Red Dead Redemption Online and then NBA 2K online, and others to come.”
We have a feeling that Zelnick could invest in the metaverse someday if these comments are anything to go by. Granted, GTA Online makes more money than most games today so Take-Two might not have to invest in the metaverse. Honestly, we won’t pretend to understand the motivations of a billionaire.