It sounds like Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick still isn’t sold on VR.
During an earnings call earlier this week (as reported by GamesBeat), Zelnick noted that VR “didn’t get this industry too far”. The CEO, who runs the company that owns both Rockstar Games and 2K, was speaking in relation to avoiding industry ‘buzzwords’.
“I’m always allergic to buzzwords,” he said on the call. “The buzzwords of VR didn’t get this industry too far and AR hasn’t improved matters either. 3D hasn’t done much for us. What moves the dial in our business is amazing creativity, great characters, great stories, great graphics, great gameplay. The ability to enjoy those experiences with other people all around the world. That is what really matters.”
It’s not the first time Zelnick has dismissed VR. In 2017, he said he was more hopeful for AR than VR (though that hope doesn’t seem to have panned out either), and last year he even said he was happy Take-Two didn’t “waste any money” on the platform. That was despite the fact Take-Two has, in fact, published three VR games in versions of LA Noire, Borderlands 2 and NBA 2K.
In July of last year the developers of LA Noire: The VR Case Files also noted they were currently busy making a new ‘AAA open world’ VR game.
While it’s understandable that one could draw that conclusion from VR’s performance between 2016 – 2019, Zelnick’s comments don’t really seem to acknowledge the platform’s resurgence in the past few years, where big hits like Half-Life: Alyx have released, Facebook is finding success with the Oculus Quest 2, and Sony prepares to ship a new VR headset for the PS5.
It is true, though, that we’re yet to see Rockstar’s biggest franchises embrace VR. That said, this week did see the launch of a VR mod for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, from the same developer of the GTAV VR mod. As it stands, these are the only ways to experience Rockstar’s open worlds in VR.