Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick opens up about virtual reality at a recent conference, suggesting that the technology is currently ‘too expensive’ for most video game players.
The growth of virtual reality technology in gaming is certainly an exciting prospect for many, but the issue has also led to some less than positive opinions on the matter. In particular, some gamers and critics have raised concerns over the price of the headsets that are currently or soon to be on the market, with some suggestions that virtual reality is too expensive for the average gamer. As it turns out, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive is also of this opinion.
While speaking at the Cowen and Company Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick offered up a less-than-positive opinion on the nature of virtual reality in the current gaming market. Zelnick, who heads the Grand Theft Auto publisher, said that virtual reality is “way too expensive right now” to his audience. Citing a price of $2000, the CEO explained that he feels there is “no market” for an entertainment device at that price that requires the user to “dedicate a room to the activity.”
Specifically, Zelnick seems to believe that space in people’s homes could play a major part in the feasibility of the VR business model. “Maybe some of the people in this room have a room to dedicate to an entertainment activity, but back here in the real world? That’s not what we have in America,” said Zelnick. The Take-Two CEO expressed disbelief in VR, stating “I don’t know what people could be thinking,” before giving details on where virtual reality could stumble in the real world. “We don’t have something where you stand in a big open space and hold two controllers with something on your head – and not crash into the coffee table.”
Zelnick described VR as a technology for the “core gamer,” as opposed to more casual users or those outside of certain demographics. “A lot of people who play video games, for example my kids, they play with their friends sitting next to them, so that technology is not going to appeal to them,” said Zelnick. This has certainly rang true with some focus testing carried out by Valve, which suggested that most PC gamers won’t upgrade to VR.
The Take-Two CEO is not alone in being skeptical of VR. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime unleashed a scathing criticism of the current crop of headsets, suggesting that VR is not fun at this moment in time. Meanwhile, acclaimed director Steven Spielberg offered up a different warning, suggesting that an over-reliance on VR as a means of creation could be dangerous for the future of storytelling.
That said, VR has been doing well commercially. Valve sold a highly impressive 15,000 Vive headsets in 10 minutes when the device launched, while the Oculus Rift has also been performing strongly – albeit based on the limited run of headsets released to the public thus far. With evidence of Xbox One VR coming soon, it seems as though plenty of companies are more than willing to try their hand at virtual reality.