2K Games didn't really have a public presence during E3, probably because the company had zero games to show at the convention. But speaking with 2K president David Ismailer and you get a picture that this was just an off year for 2K. The 2K boss says that plans are in the works for what sounds like aggressive expansion.
Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz Ismailer explained three new strategies to help 2K Games grow. This includes new games in its portfolio, more resources devoted to those projects, and a move towards live service games to keep players engaged with each title for longer periods of time.
"We're looking to expand and grow our portfolio, whether it's internally developing more products, or it's adding more long-term partnerships to our 2K product line," Ismailer said. That portfolio, Ismailer says, would also grow "a lot faster" if the capacity increased and "added significantly more on the development resource side."
One of the developers with a new IP seemingly in the works is Firaxis, the developers behind Civilization and XCOM. "We did Civ, then we did XCOM, and now we're looking hopefully to add one more to that portfolio," Ismailer said. The WWE 2K series, which has had highly-publicized faulty launches the past few iterations, will also be given a boost in investment.
While new IPs and increased resources are good, the new trend is to keep players engaged with the content post-launch. Ubisoft for example posted a record first quarter for 2018 thanks to post-launch DLC. Ismailer knows this as well and likens games as services to amusement parks:
"You go to an amusement park, the more rides they have, the longer you stay there. Then sometimes the amusement park has a nighttime event and I stay until that event; they keep me there... We're building games in the same way. We need live events, we need post-launch content, we need to keep the consumer engaged once they get in," Ismailer explains.
Currently, Ismailer says that 2K has multiple studios working on games including external partnerships. However, 2K seems to be working with external partners specializing in Triple-A games, which is harder to come by presently. But Ismailer is also extending 2K's help to mid-size developers hoping to break into the Triple-A space.
"Some independent developers have had success, but then they're ready to take the next step. We're not going to force anybody into doing anything. They have to want to do it... If they're interested in growing and they don't have the opportunity to grow and want to work with us, we're happy to do it."
Aside from these core games strategies 2K is also looking elsewhere. Like other big companies including Sony and Nintendo 2K is looking towards China and mobile as valuable new markets. 2K also recently hired Phil Dixon and Melissa Bell as COO and vice president/head of global marketing respectively. Dixon comes from an online gambling background whereas Bell is from the automotive industry, backgrounds Ismailer says brings expert knowledge of outside industries to the company.
2K might even get into the online gambling scene as Ismailer says 2K is "looking at" real-money gambling which Ismailer believes is acceptable after a recent Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on sports and esports betting. Though considering the tenor of EA's Loot Box controversy which resulted in anti-gambling investigations in Europe it remains to be seen how well that might go over in the future.
2K Games is looking to expand. Borderlands 3 by Gearbox is currently on the docket and 2K's parent company, Take-Two also owns Rockstar Games which has Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon. But 2K won't likely remain quiet for long considering Ismailer's outline plans for expansion. For more, check out our complete Red Dead Redemption 2 guide for release date, trailers, and news on the upcoming title.