In a new video interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Zelnick pointed out that while Take-Two’s games do appear on subscription services, he doesn’t believe adding them on day one is the best practice.
“We’ve supported various subscription services and we’re happy to do so,” Zelnick said. “Our scepticism has been around making frontline console products available day and date with subscription.
“That doesn’t make any sense to us because, economically speaking, we don’t think consumers are prepared to pay for that – why would they? – and we can’t afford to turn our business upside down in a way that doesn’t make sense economically.
“So there always has to be an intersection between what the consumer wants and what the publisher is able to do, and it doesn’t make sense to do that for frontline properties in our opinion. I think Sony minimally agrees with us, because they’ve said so.
“It can be potentially great for catalogue properties – those are properties that have been in the market for a while. If their price has been reduced it can make economic sense to offer those on a subscription basis.”
However, Zelnick stressed that this may not always be the company’s stance, and it may change depending on how the subscription landscape changes in the future.
“This company does not operate based on one person’s opinions, including mine, and when it makes sense we’ll support subscription services, and if that’s where the consumer wants to be, that’s where we’ll be,” he explained.
“It’s one of the terrifying things about working in video games – that we’re such on the cutting edge of everything that any prediction will inevitably make someone look foolish.”
Zelnick has expressed his scepticism for subscription services in the past, especially the practice of adding games on their date of release.
In 2019, Obsidian‘s The Outer Worlds, which was published by Take-Two, was added to Xbox Game Pass on day one, after which Zelnick said it was “hard to say” if the move had helped or hurt the game’s success.
“I think what we’ve said all along is that, generally speaking, we want to be where the consumer is,” he said at the time.
“Generally speaking, we think subscription offerings to the extent they exist are probably better suited to catalogue, but we’re willing to take experimental chances when it makes sense for a particular title and when the deal underlying that option also makes sense for us.”
However, this hasn’t stopped the company committing its releases to subscription services on occasion.
Last November two of the three games included in Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition were added to Xbox and PlayStation subscription services on the same day the GTA collection was released.
The Definitive Edition version of GTA San Andreas was added to Xbox Game Pass, while the Definitive Edition of GTA III was added to PlayStation Now.