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Take-Two isn't sure subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass are the future

Take-Two, the most consumer unfriendly company, is skeptical that subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass are the future
(Image credit: 2K)

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick spoke during the company's financial update, stating that he's "highly skeptical that subscriptions will be the only way or primary way that interactive entertainment is distributed" in the future.

"That's because of the way people consume it, and the price point for owning a title, which is very reasonable and very low, actually, on a per-hour basis," Zelnick said. "So I think it's unlikely that subscriptions supplant frontline videogame sales as the primary business model."

This is coming from a company that not only put forced advertisements in NBA 2K21, but also made games like Grand Theft Auto Online so inaccessible that you need to spend real cash in order to get anything without wasting an obscene amount of time.

What about Game Pass?

Toward the latter half of the call, Zelnick reiterated that $60 to $70 games are actually low priced. 

"We deliver the highest quality experiences in the business, and we charge much less for them than we believe they are worth to consumers," Zelnick said.

This is pretty comical coming from a company that has recycled the same basketball game for over a decade and recently released the horror show known as WWE 2K20. But to Take Two's point, no, $60 to $70 games are not cheap. 

Xbox Game Pass has been widely recognized as one of the most accessible deals in gaming. Every Xbox-owned title lands on Game Pass and users pay at most $15 per month, but there are constantly deals so you can easily get it for cheaper.

Game Pass has worked so well that even PlayStation is chiming in with its own version called the PlayStation Plus Collection (PlayStation Now is only cloud-based games).

You could absolutely argue that not owning games you're paying for is an issue, but you could also say that about buying games digitally. Xbox and PlayStation have the right to strip those games from you at any time they wish, so technically, you don't really own them.

"At the end of the day, the consumer will decide," Zelnick said, "and we will be where the consumer is."

I suspect Take-Two will be wherever the consumer is with some kind of consumer-unfriendly money-making tactic behind it.

Ironically, EA has been more consumer-friendly as of late. In its own recent financial call, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson talked about how EA Play has reached 6.5 million paid subscribers, and Wilson said gamers will "continue to see us think about our subscription broadly across platforms, and making it available to any player wherever they want."