There are big pushes towards subscription services in the gaming world at the moment. On the one hand, there are obvious cash grabs from the publisher’s end as standalone single titles are being constructed primarily as a service in order to keep ancillary revenue coming in.
While there’s definite pushback from players about the ‘games as service’ movement, they have been a bit more open to streaming subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass and EA Access which offer gamers access to an assortment of titles to download and play for a monthly fee – a list that changes each month.
Take-Two Interactive is one of the biggest game publishers in the world and handle the “Grand Theft Auto,” “Red Dead Redemption,” “BioShock,” “Borderlands,” “XCOM,” and 2K sporting franchises. Speaking with MCVUK (via WCCFTech), the company’s CEO Strauss Zelnick says he doesn’t believe players are interested in game subscription services which offer a wide range of older and low-priority games:
“A subscription model would have to speak to consumer needs and interests first and foremost. You’d have to believe that consumers want a lot of video games in a given month to choose from and the model under which those can be distributed now somehow doesn’t work for consumers.
I’m not sure consumers like to play lots and lots of video games a month. I think they tend to focus on a small number of high-value titles. I’m not sure they’re looking for a huge number of catalog titles and I think the economic model is very beneficial to consumers now.”
In a separate interview with Venture Beat, “Uncharted” game franchise creator Amy Hennig spoke about her experience in game development and the future of games – especially single-player video games which have found themselves something of an endangered species:
“It’s not that we’re looking at the death of single-player games, or that players don’t want that. Some publishers are going to fall on one end of that spectrum or another based on their business plan. Fair enough. It’s just that the traditional ways we’ve done that are getting harder and harder to support/
That’s why I’ve talked in the past about feeling like we’re in an inflection point in the industry. We’ve talked about this for a long time. How do we keep on making games like this when they’re getting prohibitively expensive? We don’t want to break the single-player experience, but there’s pressure to provide more and more at the same price point games have always been.
I hope that we see more shakeup in the industry. We’ll open up the portfolios – maybe with a subscription model – so we can see that there can be story games that are four hours long at an appropriate price point. We have digital distribution. That should be possible. We shouldn’t be stuck at this brick and mortar price point and trying to make more and more content, breaking the spirit of these games.”
Digital distribution is becoming more popular in the industry as hard copies of games are becoming rarer, in fact analysts are predicting a shift to a fully digital distribution model by 2022.