Rockstar parent Take-Two’s CEO says it’s possible the firm could branch out beyond gaming

Gaming giant Take-Two Interactive is open to the idea of broadening its horizon beyond the gaming market, its chief executive said Thursday.

Take-Two has made a killing in revenues from “Red Dead Redemption 2” and “Grand Theft Auto V” developer Rockstar Games, which it owns.

The company sold 17 million units of Wild West-style title “Red Dead Redemption 2” in just eight days — more than it sold of the first game in eight years.

It also recently raised its earnings guidance for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, lifting its net revenue expectation to between $2.55 billion and $2.65 billion from the $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion it had previously forecast. That upgrade was underpinned by the success of its new game.

But CEO Strauss Zelnick said on Thursday that Take-Two could in the future look to enter into other areas of the entertainment business.

Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take Two Interactive.

“We’ve been highly focused on our core and that’s served us so well in terms of what we bring to consumers and the value of what our security has brought to investors,” Zelnick told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

He added: “That being said, can we properly think about deploying our balance sheet in addition to building our business organically, inorganically and might we touch other areas of the entertainment business in so doing? It’s a possibility.”

Zelnick didn’t go into detail as to what those new areas of business would be. Some deals in the industry have focused on turning video game franchises into feature films, such as Sony Pictures’ deal with Ubisoft to adapt “Assassin’s Creed” into a movie.

International exposure

Zelnick said that both “Red Dead Redemption 2” and its predecessor have become “worldwide phenomena,” giving the Western genre international exposure.

He said: “We think of Westerns as uniquely Americans phenomena, but I think everyone has around the world taken on that myth as something of their own. It’s doing phenomenally well in international markets.”

The executive added that the company is driving aggressively into Asia, particularly in China, where it released 2k Sports’ basketball title “NBA 2K Online 2.”

“NBA 2K Online in China now has 40 million registered users,” Zelnick said. “It’s the number one PC sports title, and the numbers are up about 80 percent year-over-year in the last quarter.”

Rockstar Games’ “Red Dead Redemption 2” recently released its online multiplayer version in beta testing mode. The online mode incorporates elements of the game’s story mode as well as the “battle royale” style used in games like “Fortnite” and “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.”