GTA Mobile? Take-Two Explains Why It Hasn't Happened (Yet)

After Take-Two bought mobile game giant Zynga, the company says it's considering some of its "core" IP for mobile.


Take-Two, the powerhouse publisher behind franchises like GTA, Mafia, BioShock, Borderlands, and more, hasn't brought all of its franchises to mobile, and now its CEO has explained why. Strauss Zelnick spoke to The Wrap recently, simply stating that not every console game makes sense on mobile, going on to claim that there is just one example of a mega-franchise from console successfully making the jump to mobile: Call of Duty. It seems Zelnick is talking about games made specifically for mobile as opposed to ports, which Take-Two has done over the years.

"Not every piece of intellectual property belongs in mobile. Not every piece of intellectual property should be a console title. It depends on the property. Conceptually, we'd love to, but each one stands alone," he said.

That being said, Zelnick said Take-Two is looking over its catalog of franchises and trying to make smart, strategic bets about how to best adapt a series for mobile in the right way. Take-Two recently acquired mobile game giant Zynga for $12.7 billion, which was the video game industry's most expensive acquisition until Microsoft made a bid for Activision Blizzard worth $68.7 billion. Zelnick said he would love to bring some of Take-Two's "core" IP to Zynga for mobile game adaptations, but it's too soon to talk specifics.

"Specific titles? I'm probably not going to talk about specific titles. We don't even announce them once we are developing them until we're ready and close to releasing them," he said. "We are looking at our entire portfolio of intellectual property and we have said that we would love to bring some core Take-Two IP to Zynga, to produce mobile hits. It's a really hard thing to do."

Also in the interview, Zelnick said Activision Blizzard had success bringing Call of Duty to mobile as part of what he called a "wonderful expression of the intellectual property" with Call of Duty Mobile. Activision is building upon this with another game, Call of Duty Warzone Mobile in the future.

Zelnick sees this as an anomaly when looking at the wider games industry. Not every adaptation of a console game for mobile saw the level of success that Call of Duty enjoyed, he said.

"But that's once. First of all, mobile has a very low hit ratio as a business. Most of the time, if you try to take a piece of intellectual property from one venue and translate it to another, it's hard--it's hard to create a hit," he said. "So we'll do it, I hope, and we'll do it very selectively and focus and make sure we enhance our odds of success to the extent we're able to, but we won't do it across the board."

For comparison, Activision Blizzard has said it will bring every single one of its franchises to mobile over time.

Mobile is the fastest-growing segment in the video game market. This fact is why Microsoft is pursuing Activision Blizzard for a buyout--the deal was first and foremost about mobile (and PC).

As for Take-Two, one of its next big games is Grand Theft Auto VI from developer Rockstar Games. The company's independent games label Private Division is trucking along as well, recently announcing a Lord of the Rings game in the works from none other than Weta Workshop itself.

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