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Take-Two's Zelnick says the industry's pandemic boost is permanent


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Publisher's CEO talks about what will keep new gamers around after COVID-19, bringing core franchises to mobile, and why he's not worried about the outcome of Epic v. Apple

"Interactive entertainment is now the number one entertainment vertical in terms of revenue, and I guess people still don't fully realize that," Zelnick says. "And a good deal of that growth was driven by people either discovering or rediscovering interactive entertainment and its social aspects during the pandemic. And what we've found is that while certain trends should be expected to moderate, that shift is permanent."



"As people discover and rediscover interactive entertainment, they realize we -- and our competitors -- offer incredible graphics, great stories, great characters, great gameplay," Zelnick says. "And at the same time, while you're playing, you can hang out with your friends all around the world. You can create new friends and be part of new or existing communities. You can have shared experiences. You can talk to each other. You can chat in the chat clients.


"We as consumers, all of us enjoy shared entertainment experiences. That's why we watch movies together, and TV shows together. It's why we go to theme parks together. We're not looking for a solitary experience, and interactive entertainment is the definition of a shared experience, particularly with what technology allows us to do today."



Zelnick says that the biggest hits in the mobile space are native to the platform. That's been true within Take-Two's own catalog, with Zelnick mentioning Monster Legends, Two Dots, and Dragon City as examples. (The company has also ported a number of older titles like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and XCOM: Enemy Within to mobile.)

"Over time, I would expect some of our IP will find its way to a mobile iteration," Zelnick adds. "We'll announce that when the time comes."


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