One man isn’t too excited about the direction of the industry.
Microsoft’s Game Pass, Google’s Stadia, Sony’s PlayStation Now, Ubisoft’s Uplay+ all are pointing to subscription services being a big thing for the game industry’s future. But not everyone is too excited about that. Take-Two’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick, actually sees it as a pretty poor strategy going forward.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Zelnick was pretty blunt in his assessment of the heavy emphasis companies are putting on these services. He says everyone is in a hurry to copy other mediums that have, by and large, adopted to the model without realizing that the longer time investment for games are going to have an impact on how people consume these services.
“I think the average American household wants to subscribe to two to three entertainment properties at a time, of all sorts,” the executive said. “There will be no winner takes all, and a bunch of losers, in linear programming as well as interactive.”
“Interactive programming isn’t particularly well-suited to a subscription, because you typically only play a couple of titles at a time, and you play them for a long time,” he continued. “I’m not sure what subscriptions bring. But we’ll see, because obviously some people are going to launch them, and Game Pass is already out there.”
Zelnick does have a point. Unlike music, television, and movies, the amount of engagement players generally take for video games is a lot more significant in both time and level of interaction. With so many subscription services, there’s bound to be at least one or two that crashes and burns. We’ll just have to wait and see which those are, because the industry is moving full steam ahead with it regardless.