Strauss Zelnick says that games shouldn’t have a subscription model. However, he has a far more positive approach towards something else.
During an earnings call, Zelnick revealed that he is sceptical about subscription-based services for games: „You have to find that intersection in business models that serve the customer successfully and also serve everyone else who participates in the value chain, and that may prove to be a little challenging for subscriptions in this space because people do consume video games differently than they consume linear entertainment.”
He said the average American household spends around five hours per day on linear entertainment, such as television and movies – that’s 150 hours per month on average. However, for interactive entertainment – such as games -, the daily average is about 1.5 hours or 45 hours per month. Zelnick thinks that a subscription service works for TV and films, as people have different tastes, and they might flip through the selection to find what they’d enjoy, which is why Netflix’ approach works. However, for games, this model is harder to sell: „In the case of video games, it is possible that the average user in those 45 hours might be playing 1, 2, maybe 3 titles; certainly not 70 titles. In that event, if you play 1, 2, or 3 titles and you play them for months in a row–which often happens in [the video game world]–then a subscription model may not be such a great deal for the customer. We’re open-minded. We want to be where the customer is. But I don’t think it is a foregone conclusion that subscription will be as massive for interactive ent as it has proven to be for music and motion pictures and television. But we’ll see.”
However, Zelnick has a way more positive thought about streaming services, such as the Google Stadia: „We’re very optimistic about the notion of streaming technology bringing our titles to consumers who currently do not have access to them. The promise of being able to sign on to a service with virtually no barriers; without a box in between, and being able to play our games on any device whatsoever around the world and to do it with low-latency, well, that’s very compelling if that can be delivered. The folks at Google minimally have said it will be delivered, and it will be delivered in relatively short order. Conceptually, we want to be where the consumer is. We’ll support new entrants. We are a believer in streaming services. We need to have business models that make sense for us, but so far we’re pretty optimistic.”
No wonder – Grand Theft Auto V is closing in on 110 million shipped copies…