The endless quest for more American dollars continues without respite or clemency at Take Two Interactive, daddy of Rockstar and uber-publisher of Grand Theft Auto V. They want to put “recurrent consumer spending” in all their future games, said CEO Strauss Zelnick in a recent conference call for investors. “Recurrent consumer spending” is how men in suits say “microtransactions”, which is how men in slightly shabbier suits say: “we’re putting a shop in your videogame”.
Gamasutra listened in to the 50-minute call and managed to stay awake long enough to get some hints about the dark (yet unsurprising) future which lies in wait for all of us.
"We've said that we aim to have recurrent consumer spending opportunities for every title that we put out at this company,” said Zelnick. “It may not always be an online model, it probably won't always be a virtual currency model, but there will be some ability to engage in an ongoing basis with our titles after release across the board.
“One of the things we've learned is if we create a robust opportunity, and a robust world, in which people can play delightfully in a bigger and bigger way, that they will keep coming back,” he continued. “They will engage. And there is an opportunity to monetize that engagement… There's a lot of room for growth. This is just the beginning.”
This will not be surprising to anyone playing GTA Online, where the dollars of San Andreas have long been available for real life dollars. But it also means upcoming cows and guns blockbuster Red Dead Redemption 2 is likely to have some kind of microtransactions too.
Yes, we could all have probably guessed that but there it is anyway. We don’t yet know what form any such microtransactions would take, however. It could be a harmless hat shop, or a drug store where you buy various bottles of player-killing poison, or a fully lifelike economy in which you are enthralled to your mining boss and any attempt to unionise is met with a mysterious accident in an unsupervised tunnel. We just don't know.
But my guess is on all three.