Everyone knows just how big Grand Theft Auto is. Rockstar’s massive open-world franchise is one of the biggest names in all of gaming with Grand Theft Auto V becoming the most profitable video game ever made. However, while GTA dominates consoles there is one area that the franchise doesn’t quite have the same level of dominance: the mobile market.
While GTA has a presence on phones and app stores, all of the games are ports of older titles like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and while it’s impressive that you can play a PlayStation 2 game on your phone, it’s not quite the same as many of the more original games that are all over app stores. Most major video game publishers have been attempting to see what it can make work on mobile with original titles of some kind. Games like Pokemon Go, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and The Simpsons: Tapped Out have all seen decent success with different reasons to come in and play. If a major developer can get a good hook on the mobile market, it can make a significant amount of money very quickly.
All of this is to say that the recent news of Rockstar parent company Take-Two purchasing Farmville and mobile game developer Zynga makes a lot of sense. This not only gives Take-Two ownership of many extremely profitable mobile IPs, but it gives them a trusted developer that they already know is capable of making successful mobile games. The message is clear. Take-Two wants to make more original mobile games.
The cash-and-stock deal announced Monday is one of the video game industry’s bigger acquisitions to date. Take-Two Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said a purchase of Zynga would give it a strong position in mobile, “the fastest-growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry.”
Let’s look back at Grand Theft Auto and Rockstar. Take-Two currently owns the most profitable IP in all of gaming, but it has a giant hole where there could be potential mobile games. We know for certain that people are interested enough in GTA to play an original mobile game and with the purchase of Zynga, it feels like a safe assumption that one could be in the works very soon. Not only that, but Take-Two also is the parent company of 2K and the NBA 2K franchise. We may see NBA 2K making a stronger effort in the mobile market as well.
All of this is speculation of course, but when looking at how impactful mobile games are and what Take-Two has just done it feels like a no-brainer prediction.