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Take-Two Interactive ‘Skeptical’ of Subscription Services Like Game Pass

Take-Two Interactive president expresses skepticism about game subscription models such as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Gaming subscription services have quickly become a primary way that many players fill out their gaming catalog. Sony’s PlayStation Now launched in the United States in 2015 and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which was touted by Forbes as the Netflix of video games, followed just a few years later in 2017.

According to statements made by Xbox’s Phil Spencer, it seems that Microsoft plans to place even greater emphasis on the growth of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service as a core element of its business model with the release of the Xbox Series X and Series S.

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Despite this, in a recent earnings call with Take-Two Interactive, publisher of a number of successful franchises including Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K, it was revealed that the company remains “highly skeptical” that these gaming subscription services will become the only or primary way that video games are distributed.

“That’s because of the way people consume it,” Take-Two Interactive President Karl Slatoff stated during the call, “and the price point for owning a title, which is very reasonable and very, very low, actually, on a per hour basis.”

Take-Two’s Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 have both been offered on Xbox Game Pass for a limited time in the past, and Slatoff made it clear that Take-Two will most likely continue to make its games available for distribution on subscription services. “At the end of the day, the consumer will decide, and we will be where the consumer is.”

Montage of games offered on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

The question was posed to Take-Two Interactive executives during the earnings call with the observation that, even though companies like Microsoft are aggressively promoting subscriptions and even Nintendo getting in on the trend with Nintendo Switch Online, avid gamers tend to play only a few titles per year.

However, if that statistic is true, it actually supports the growing popularity of gaming subscription services. The prices of PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are relatively low, making it easy for a player to sample a large number of games without spending a corresponding large amount of money. It removes the risk of paying 60 or 70 dollars for a game that might end up being a flop or otherwise unappealing to the buyer.

And with the expansion of subscription service catalogs to include titles from publishers with established popular franchises, a subscription becomes even more appealing for gamers. Microsoft recently acquired Bethesda, adding multiple franchises to the potential future offerings for Xbox Game Pass in one fell swoop. And EA Play will be joining the repertoire beginning November 10, making even more AAA and well-received titles like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

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