Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Red Dead 2 and NBA 2K19 publisher Take-Two has said launching exclusively on the Epic Store isn’t a good way to attract players.
"We think it's very difficult to try and attract consumers only through a wholly owned captive site," said Zelnick to GI.biz. "That's not how consumers shop.”
Zelnick goes on to compare the sale of games to book retailers, saying people could go directly to the publishers for a copy of a new book but most prefer to shop around and buy it from where they want to. The one caveat is if you have something “incredibly powerful” which is only available on a specific store. There are few games that carry quite that much power.
“Generally speaking, you are better placed to be where the consumer is, rather than indicating to the consumer where they need to be,” Zelnick continued. “If your focus is solely on capturing retail margin, then you have to be very convinced you're going to be a great retailer. That's not something that's in our DNA. We make entertainment. We're really not a retailer."
Despite this way of thinking, Zelnick still sees the competition posed by the Epic Store as a good thing. To Rockstar, it isn’t disruptive, it just wants its games on as many stores and platforms as humanly possible. The more digital game stores that are operating, the more methods of distribution for Rockstar. “If the business model makes sense for us, we will support it. We want to be where the consumer is,” he finished.
For Take-Two, it sounds as if they’re taking a very hands-off approach to the Epic Store. If Red Dead Redemption 2 is announced for PC, it’ll probably come to both the Epic Store and Steam. It would take an absolutely massive payout from Epic to ensure the business model "makes sense" for Take-Two if launching exclusively through the Epic Games Store.