Asked about GTA 6 launch on live TV, Take-Two CEO dodges, ducks, dips, dives, and dodges
Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Rockstar parent Take-Two, was repeatedly asked about the now heavily implied 2024 launch window for GTA 6 on a recent CNBC news segment, and the resulting display of evasiveness would embarrass professional dodgeball players.
Zelnick appeared on the news channel's Squawk Box show to discuss the company's ambitious earnings predictions, which are so far above the norm – about $3 billion, to be exact – that the release of a massively anticipated game like GTA 6 is actually one of the most likely explanations. Co-anchor Becky Quick noted that the news has "got people speculating that you've got to have Grand Theft Auto 6 coming out."
"So we've said that we're working on the next iteration of Grand Theft Auto, but Rockstar hasn't announced a release date yet," Zelnick replied. "We've been working on this huge pipeline. We have 36 titles coming to market in [fiscal year 2025 and 2026], and we obviously have high expectations.
"And you're right, we typically don't talk about future years. We typically give guidance and we try to go right down the middle, that's what we're supposed to do. In this instance, we wanted to give the industry the transparency it's been asking for. So we basically gave an outlook for this fiscal year and the subsequent too. We have high expectations for [FY2025], but we also expect sequential growth in [FY2026]."
Quick asserts that Zelnick and Take-Two are generally "pretty conservative" about their predictions – which makes this $3 billion spike even more of an outlier – and asks what makes Zelnick so sure of the prediction.
"We've been working on this pipeline for a long time," Zelnick answers. "We have a pretty good ability to predict the performance of new iterations of existing franchises."
"Like Grand Theft Auto?" Quick cuts in.
Glossing over things with a chuckle, Zelnick continues: "Actually we have 14 franchises that have each sold over five million units in an individual release. Titles like Red Dead, Borderlands, BioShock, Civilization, and many others." Which is true; these franchises are big and successful in their own right, but even Red Dead Redemption ain't $3 billion above-annual-average big.
As ever, a 2024 launch for GTA 6 remains unconfirmed. The fiscal year Take-Two's mapping out technically stretches into the first quarter of 2025, for starters, and GTA has seen both fall and spring releases with its latest installments, so we can't rule out either period. GTA 6 also isn't the only explanation for the numbers Take-Two expects, even if it is looking increasingly likely.
We asked a psychic leading questions about the GTA 6 release date, and boy was it weird.