Oculus Rift is "Anti-Social," Grand Theft Auto Parent Company CEO Says
Strauss Zelnick says virtual reality technology will be great for core gamers who want to be immersed, but it might not be well-suited for local multiplayer.
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The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is an exciting piece of technology and can be a great way to enjoy games in a more immersive way, but it's not going to be for everyone, according to Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive.
"I think for a core gamer, it could be a wonderful experience; someone who really likes to be immersed," Zelnick told Bloomberg. "But a lot of people who play video games, for example my kids, they play with their friends sitting next to them, so that technology is not going to appeal to them. So I think it's very much a core technology."
The interviewer suggested that Oculus Rift was in fact "anti-social," and Zelnick agreed.
"It is an anti-social technology, but we will support it to the extent it's brought to market and it works for our games," Zelnick said. "It is apparently great. Our people who have tried it, love it. I have not actually [tried Oculus Rift]. Everyone says it's great."
Social networking giant Facebook acquired Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift, in March as part of a surprise deal worth $2 billion. The Oculus Rift remains in development and there's no word yet on when the final, consumer version will be available or what it will cost. Fallout and Elder Scrolls parent publisher ZeniMax is currently suing Oculus VR and creator Palmer Luckey, claiming the popular VR technology actually belongs to them.
Also during the interview, Zelnick was asked when the next Grand Theft Auto game--Grand Theft Auto 6--would arrive. As you'd expect, he shot this down quickly. "We haven't begun to talk about Grand Theft Auto 6," he said. Last year's Grand Theft Auto V shipped over 33 million copies and generated more than $1 billion in three days. Sales at this level, and Take-Two's belief that Grand Theft Auto is a "permanent" franchise, make a sequel sound likely. Rockstar Games has even said it has "some ideas" already for GTA 6.
"The risk of having someone else make a movie that's not up to par creatively isn't offset by the potential reward" -- Zelnick on why there's no GTA movie
Might we get a Grand Theft Auto movie sometime between now and when the next installment in the series arrives? Doesn't sound likely, Zelnick said, reiterating what Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said late last year.
"No plans for a [GTA] movie," Zelnick said. "We haven't actually taken any of our titles and turned them into motion pictures for a reason. Because we don't finance motion pictures, it's not a great business. We have conversations about licensing all the time. The problem is the economics around the licensing are swamped by our economics in our core business. So the risk of having someone else make a movie that's not up to par creatively isn't offset by the potential reward."
Finally, Zelnick discussed the role microtransactions play in Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer mode for GTA V. As it turns out, GTA Online was not planned from the start to support virtual currency, he revealed. "When we came up with the notion of Grand Theft Auto Online, our initial thought was not necessarily to have virtual currency in the game. That was a relatively recent thought."
Now, microtransactions are big business for GTA V and Take-Two overall. Zelnick described GTA Online, thanks to the way in which microtransactions allow for recurrent consumer spending, as "the gift that keeps on giving."