MMOs don't work in U.S., Take-Two CEO says

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says his company is staying away from MMOs outside of Asia because they're just not worth the effort. It partnered with Tencent in China for games like NBA 2K Online, but you won't see them cross the Pacific, GameSpot reports.

"We're actively investing in online MMOs; we're not doing it in the U.S. Why? Because MMOs don't work here," Zenick said at the Cowen Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in New York today.

"We look at it and say 'How many MMOs have ever been successful in the US?' Two. World of Warcraft and EverQuest. That's kind of a bad slugging percentage," he said.

World of Warcraft's popularity seems to be flagging, but it has outperformed all western MMORPGs to make a grab at its substantial player base since 2004. Bethesda and NCSoft, among others, are still targeting the audience with games like The Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar. Both are planned for release this year.

"We've stayed away from that market and instead we went to Asia where at any given time ten or twenty are successful in China generating lots of revenue."


  • ZeeCaptain - June 3, 2013 12:33 a.m.

    I can understand T2, I try to stay away from MMO's because there enormous time sinks and I already have enough of those, still I end up getting a few of them: SW TOR, LOTRO, SWG, GW2, never got very far in them. Anyway the point is that the publishers put a bunch of cash into these hoping to get a long time return and there's statistics showing that after the initial release and burst of players it dwindles after the second month etc...
  • Eliath - June 1, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    Guild Wars 2 hasn't even been out a year. They release new content pretty much every month. They must be doing well to keep developers constantly working on things. Also, their servers are always high or full, although I have no idea how many they have in comparison to WoW. As far as F2P, it's definitely not pay to win, and yet if you sit in the main towns you can find people that have spent well over $1000 already.
  • Squirrel - May 31, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    As far as my gaming tastes go I'm rather happy about this. For a while developers were putting too much emphasis on turning everything into an MMO, a genre I have little to no interest in. I wish the Old Republic had been KOTOR 3, but instead we got an MMO. Now that they see they aren't all that successful here, with the exception of WOW, maybe they will refocus on more dedicated single player RPG's again. There is one MMO I would love to see tho and I'd play it passionately. A Pokemon MMO would blow the world's collective minds and could potentially become even more successful than WOW ever dreamed to be.
  • LoboMau - May 30, 2013 10:58 p.m.

    Well, what he said (or should have said) is that according to the benefit cost ratio, it's just not worth it. Honestly, I'd do the same and, from a business standpoint, that's the safest decision to take.
  • TwinHallow - May 30, 2013 10:52 p.m.

    That is a one bad excuse in my opinion.
  • ObliqueZombie - May 30, 2013 10:24 p.m.

    The only notable MMO in recent memory that has literally had its plug pulled was SWG. But really, unless it has numbers like World of Warcraft at its piqué, it's a failure, right?
  • sandplasma - May 30, 2013 8:13 p.m.

    What an idiotic thing to say. Simply because you reach higher numbers elsewhere does not mean it doesnt work here. This is like saying that SUVs dont work in Europe because they're not selling in the millions and millions like in U.S.A.
  • Dave2123 - May 31, 2013 5:49 a.m.

    Yes, it is and SUVs don't work in Europe. No SUVs are advertised in Britain. I'm sure you can get them, but they're not a real market for car manufacturers so they don't really bother with them here. Take Two obviously realise that they can't get as many sales in the US and will probably make a loss there, so they're focusing on Asia. It's the same reason why car companies don't advertise big cars like loads of Americans drive. (One of the reasons is that our fuel costs a lot more so we can't afford it.)
  • n00b - May 30, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    so this is the same 3 million sales = huge failure?
  • TheGeek - May 30, 2013 6:10 p.m.

    Its because here in the USA, we don't put up with bullcrap like Pay 2 Win, and ridiculous gold prices. They need to focus on making a good game and not making up their investment on day one. And also, if you are focusing on just USA, you are doing it wrong. A good MMO is GLOBAL.
  • tuomotaivainen - May 30, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    - World of Warcraft - EverQuest - Warhammer Online - Guild Wars 2 - Age of Conan - Rift - Battlefield Heroes - The Old Republic Need I say more?
  • brickman409 - May 30, 2013 6:17 p.m.

    just because an MMO is good doesn't necessarily mean successful . I'm not really sure how much money those games made, but apparently take two does not define them as successful
  • tuomotaivainen - May 30, 2013 8:18 p.m.

    They're still running though, I'd call that successful. They're obviously making enough money to keep going.
  • Arlips - May 31, 2013 7:08 a.m.

    Breaking even doesn't make you a financial success - in fact it actually makes you a failure since the point of a business venture is to gain profit. The fact that an MMO is still running just means that it makes enough money to run the servers. That doesn't mean it's a profitable success. Hard numbers would be one thing, but you cannot judge an MMO's success by the fact that it's simply running. Successful from a gamer's perspective, maybe, but not to a businessman.
  • The_Tingler - May 30, 2013 11:55 p.m.

    Lord of the Rings Online, which was successful beforeTurbine went free-to-play. They chose to go F2P because they were clever enough to realise they could actually make more money that way. And did.
  • Dave2123 - May 31, 2013 5:39 a.m.

    Yes. 8 is an insignificant number and can be discarded as anomalies. Show them 80 MMOs that have been sort of successful (not necessarily as successful as those) and they might change their minds.
  • AnghellicKarma - June 9, 2013 8:38 p.m.

    Aside from the above listed games, I'd like to also throw out Final Fantasy XI. It is now in its eleventh year and just had a brand new expansion pack come out for it! It may not do WoW numbers, but it has a niche, sufficient enough to sustain it for over a decade! That's a success to me. I mean, think of WoW numbers... let's say they have 8 million (see At $14.95/month, that's $119,600,000 in monthly fees PER MONTH. Or $1.5 BILLION each year. Yes, that is overwhelming success. But, as long as a game turns a profit, it can also be classified as such. This Take Two quote reeks of ignorance.
  • pokepark7 - May 30, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    I guess this was true but who really cares right? only if it was a game with an epic story, great graphics, engaging dialogue etc.... if it were to have these then i'll buy it..... so i guess i know why this is happening.
  • Dave2123 - May 31, 2013 5:43 a.m.

    You say that, but it's still too much of a risk for them. No developer makes a game and thinks "this is shit", they all think their games have excellent stories, graphics, dialogue etc, but some just don't work. So, Take Two doesn't want to risk it, because even if they make a game which matches that criteria you still might not like it. Also, his comment, obviously, means that the same games that aren't working in the US are working in Asia, so the Asian market must think that they have good graphics etc., but the US doesn't.

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