GTA 5 publisher thinks gaming isn't ready for VR just yet

RSG GTAV NG Screenshot 121

With the consumer release of Oculus Rift expected to arrive "pretty soon", you'd be forgiven for thinking major publishers are starting to ramp up (albeit quietly) virtual reality development. While that may be true, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has told Bloomberg TV (via IGN) that he doesn't think the industry is ready for the shift. Take-Two is parent company to both 2K Games and Rockstar, and with Grand Theft Auto 5 releasing for PC in January many have salivated at the prospect of tweaking GTA to run with Oculus Rift.

"Not yet," Zelnick said when asked whether the industry was ready. "Part of it is we need to see how the headsets roll out and how we can best deliver an experience. We are concerned that you'll play our games for a long period of time -- we don't want people getting nauseated. And also, having had the experience, I'm not sure how long you want an immersive headset on your head. We'll find out. I will say this. If that's what consumers want, we'll be first in line to give it to them."

Zelnick's comments are firmly rooted in a major publisher mentality. While it's arguable that gaming is ready for VR, the shift is unlikely to be spearheaded by major third-party publishers, especially those who prioritise console releases ahead of the PC. Zelnick admits as much, saying he'd prefer to see if it works for other companies first.

"We see no reason to innovate in terms of business models," he said. "We prefer to be a fast follower. No one else can make our intellectual property -- only we can. I'm happy to have other people spend loads of dough on R&D."

In terms of major publishers, Palmer Luckey said in September that Activision, EA and Ubisoft are all investing in virtual reality. Still, it might be a while before we see official VR support for a GTA game.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.