We’re at a point in time where games-as-a-service has become a major part of our industry, so much so that most developers and publishers are looking to actively make games that fall into that category. The advantages are pretty clear to see, of course- constant engagement by players leads to constant revenue, and so we see GaaS elements entering even most single player games at this point.
That, however, is not the approach Red Dead Redemption 2 will be taking. Recently, the Take-Two CEO talked about how single player games are nowhere close to being dead, and some more recent comments made by him seem to be going in that same direction. In an interview with Game Daily, Strauss Zelnick said that with Red Dead Redemption 2, they haven’t set out with the mentality that they want to make a GaaS game, because doing that, according to him, is missing the point. According to Zelnick, if you make a great game that people like to begin with, be it single player or multiplayer, keeping them engaged with future support is going to come naturally.
“Our interest is not games-as-a-service or single-player or multiplayer or episodic,” Zelnick said. “Our interest is in captivating and engaging consumers with the best entertainment anyone makes, of any sort, and if we do that and then we give consumers even more great stuff to engage with it should work out well, and naturally the revenues and the profits will follow.
“My concern is that, looked at upside down, ‘We want to make games-as-a-service’ sort of misses the point. We’re in the entertainment business, and there is no reason to believe consumers have lost interest in single-player if the single-player is good. There is no reason to believe you can create a service [that sells] if the service isn’t great.
“We’ve said that we want to engage with consumers after the initial release. That remains our goal. But you can only do it if the initial experience is great. If it’s not, then people [won’t] want more of it.”
Zelnick then went on to talk a little bit about the support Red Dead Redemption 2 will be receiving post launch, including things such as regular DLC releases, as well as Red Dead Online, which will be similar to the uber-successful online component that came with Grand Theft Auto V.
“We have Red Dead online coming, and Rockstar’s announced that, so clearly that’s intended to be an expression of ongoing engagement after the initial sale,” he said. “What we haven’t talked about is any path to monetization because it’s just not our primary concern. Our primary concern is keeping consumers engaged.”
To be fair, what he’s saying makes complete sense. Sure, ultimately, when you think about it, the end result ends up being the same, but the approach Rockstar and Take-Two are taking with constant support for their game means that, hopefully, all the content we’re going to receive is going to be top-notch. And really, there’s no reason to doubt the developers either- their post-launch support for GTA Online speaks for itself, given how successful and popular it has been consistently over a period of years.
Red Dead Redemption 2 launches on October 26 for the PS4 and Xbox One.