What Take-Two's Zynga Acquisition Means for Games Like GTA and Red Dead

In one of the most expensive acquisitions in the history of video games, Take-Two Interactive has bought mobile gaming giant Zynga. The deal is a big indicator of Take-Two's intentions to bring its IPs to mobile, and two of the games with the biggest potential in this respect come from Take-Two subsidiary, Rockstar Games. However, this deal follows a lot of criticism of the content Rockstar has been publishing as of late, due to unfinished and uninspiring releases. While it is Rockstar Games properties that could yield the most potential for Take-Two mobile games, it is also Rockstar Games that is rapidly losing fan loyalties.

In particular, how Rockstar has handled two of its biggest franchises, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, has left many fans of these series frustrated. Paradoxically though, Grand Theft Auto Online remains one of Rockstar's biggest earners thanks to continual updates; Rockstar's focus on GTA Online, and remasters of previous titles, have left Red Dead fans and those waiting for Grand Theft Auto 6 news feeling neglected. Thus, the costly acquisition of Zynga paints a picture of what fans of GTA and Red Dead can expect from Rockstar for the next few years, and while it's good news for some, other fans may be disappointed.

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Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto 6

The response to Rockstar's latest remasters and re-releases, such as Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy and the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 next-gen port, proves a level of fatigue amongst fans with the previous games in the series. Since GTA 5 came out in 2013, almost a decade ago, the wait for Grand Theft Auto 6 has been longer than any other game in the series.

In the meantime, steady updates have kept GTA Online popular and profitable for Rockstar Games. While there has already been some speculation over how the Zynga acquisition might impact GTA 6, the expensive price Take-Two has paid for Zynga is a big indicator that properties more suited for mobile play, like GTA Online, are a potentially large focus for the developers right now.

None of this is to say that Grand Theft Auto 6 is not a priority for Rockstar, especially given the huge expectations for the game. However, it is more Rockstar news that leaves fans waiting for updates on GTA 6 empty-handed. Considering the poor response to recent Rockstar releases, there is a lot of pressure for the developer to give a solid update on a new game soon.

While such news would likely be welcomed with open arms, the Zynga acquisition isn't exactly promising in this respect. The sooner Rockstar releases details about GTA 6, the better, as the longer fans only receive updates about new versions of existing GTA games, the more Rockstar stands to alienate fans and put more pressure and expectations on GTA 6.

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Red Dead Redemption 3 and Red Dead Online

While there have been rumors that Red Dead Redemption 3 is in the works, there's been no official announcement to this effect from Rockstar. Since Grand Theft Auto fans have been waiting longer, it seems likely there'll be updates on GTA 6 before there may be any news on Red Dead Redemption 3. As for Red Dead Online, fans have recently launched a campaign to save the game due to increasingly lackluster updates to the game in comparison to GTA Online.

While Red Dead is a massive franchise for Rockstar, the pervasive feeling amongst fans is that Rockstar prioritizes GTA Online over most other properties, since it earns so much revenue. However, the Zynga acquisition may be good news for Red Dead Online fans since it would work well as a mobile game.

At the very least, Red Dead fans can expect some form of mobile Red Dead game to come from this deal. If Rockstar does release a mobile version of Red Dead Online, it could bring the game to new audiences and make it more popular. Take-Two has expressed interest in exploring cross-platform gaming with Zynga, which may eventually see Red Dead Online gain some crossplay functionality.

However, the "Save Red Dead" campaign is not calling for a mobile version or crossplay, but for comprehensive updates to the existing console version of the game. Right now, there are too many variables to accurately predict what a mobile Red Dead would mean for console versions of Red Dead Online, but there is definitely hope for the future of this game.

Notably, the pressure building on Rockstar to release updates about Grand Theft Auto 6 is much more than it is to release news on a new Red Dead Redemption game. While the Zynga acquisition isn't great news for anyone waiting on updates for either, it definitely seems like Red Dead Redemption 3 may be much further away than a new GTA game. More broadly though, the acquisition proves Take-Two will be engaging a lot more in mobile gaming. Console players are worried about how mobile gaming might influence future Red Dead or GTA games. Considering the poor release to Rockstar releases over the past few years, Rockstar needs to win back fans.

Mobile gaming may prove to be a big earner for Take-Two, especially when it comes to Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. However, after a lot of blundered releases, Rockstar would need to release a really impressive mobile game to win back the confidence of fans. The public move towards mobile gaming by Take-Two Interactive also adds a lot more pressure on news of Grand Theft Auto 6. Therefore, if Rockstar fails to release an update on GTA 6 soon, it will further damage the relationship between fans and the developer unless Rockstar can reassure console gamers of its commitment to the future of these series some other way.

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