Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick says BioShock’s sales didn’t quite match up to its critical acclaim, but he’s hopeful BioShock 2 can build on its brand recognition to become an even bigger hit.
Released in 2007, BioShock sold roughly three million units, a very respectable figure but not quite enough of a hit to carry Take-Two through the lean years between Grand Theft Auto releases. “BioShock… won 50 game of the year awards in 2007. We announced it sold around 3 million units. I’d like to see a title like that sell 5 million units,” Zelnick said. “That would make the difference for us. If you have four or five titles that are significantly successful, that will meaningfully change our profitability [in non-GTA years].”
But Zelnick said he hopes BioShock 2 will build on the success of the original and leverage the now-familiar franchise to attract gamers even if they haven’t played the first game. “We are investing heavily in making it bigger and better. We want it to be different enough that people will want to own it,” he continued. “BioShock got a lot of attention. It’s brand is huge. It won lots of awards. But it wasn’t as huge a seller. I’m hopeful that BioShock 2 will benefit from the brand awareness, where people will play it even if they didn’t play the original. It will have multiplayer capability, where the approach is interesting. The single-player game is a sequel in time to the original story. The multiplayer version is a prequel in terms of its setting. We think it’s innovative.”