Take-Two's Zelnick says "MMOs don't work" in the US

What makes one MMO succeed and another struggle? Take-Two Interactive chairman Strauss Zelnick says that at least one important factor at play in this equation is whether or not the MMO title is published in the United States (via Polygon ).

"We're actively investing in online and MMOs, we're just not doing it in the U.S," Zelnick reportedly said at the Cowen and Company Technology, Media and Telecom Conference Thursday. "MMOs don't work here. A couple of our competitors have found out that through very, very expensive lessons. One of our competitors just recently announced they're restarting an MMO project."

For Zelnick, the list of MMO titles that have found some solid footing in the USA was short. "How many MMOs have been successful in the U.S.?," he said. "Two. World of Warcraft and EverQuest. Kind of a bad slugging percentage."

Take-Two is instead looking east in search of the most friendly geography for MMO success, in that "at any given time 10 to 20 are successful in China and generating revenue," according to Zelnick.

But with the recent news that Blizzard is overhauling its Titan MMO project, it appears that Zelnick is pointing to a sales reality for the US games market that other developers and publishers are confronting as well. While it's not fair to only define the success or failure of a title strictly in the jargon of business, it's not just the World of Warcraft developer that has seen its plans change. Both Rift and Star Wars: The Old Republic , for example, plan to or have already made the shift from a subscription service to a free-to-play model. Somehow it seems entirely appropriate that games, if we are to see them as extensions of the human experience, must adapt in order to survive.

Image via us.battle.net