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Fortnite may draw younger consumers to gaming for the long term, says Take-Two CEO


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Epic Games' "Fortnite" has taken the world by storm, slashing gaming giant Activision Blizzard's market value by billions and becoming the biggest esport on the planet.

But if you ask Strauss Zelnick, the chairman and CEO of video game developer Take-Two Interactive Software, the free-world, survival-based mega-hit is actually helping the industry.

"There seems to be a good deal of evidence that those who are playing 'Fortnite' are new to the category," Zelnick told CNBC in an interview with "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

"It apparently speaks, at least anecdotally, to a younger audience," Zelnick, whose company makes the popular Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K franchises, said on Monday.

"As they age, they will obviously be consumers of more mature titles, and currently, they can consume titles that are rated for everyone," the CEO added.

"Battle-Royale" style games like "Fortnite" have ignited a debate on Wall Street as to whether established game developers will suffer from their rivalry over the long term.

Some analysts attributed Take-Two's recent fourth-quarter earnings miss to pressure from "Fortnite," which is free to play and accessible from computers and consoles.

But in Zelnick's view, "Fortnite" is simply expanding the consumer pool for companies like his, and several analysts have come to Take-Two's defense on the matter.

"It would be great if we could corner the market on all hits. That's not realistic," Zelnick told Cramer. "The emphasis is on innovation, not derivation."

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