Take-Two's Zelnick isn't sure that games streaming will lower barrier to entry

Take-Two's Zelnick isn't sure that games streaming will lower barrier to entry

The CEO and president of Take-Two Strauss Zelnick has said he doesn't see why video games streaming would the cost of playing games.

Speaking to GamesBeat, it was put to the veteran entertainment exec whether streaming services like Google Stadia would open video games up to a broader market than ever due to a lower price point.

"I'm not sure why broader distribution changes the entry price necessarily," he said.

"I do think that broader distribution might make a difference for free-to-play titles that have no entry price. It costs money to support those titles. That could be a mixed blessing. I think the answer is — I maybe wouldn’t necessarily expect to see five billion gamers. That’s a lot of people out of the seven billion on earth, since a lot of those people are either really little or really old. But the audience will certainly grow with broader distribution. That’s always what happens."

GamesBeat pressed Zelnick as to whether opening triple-A to a larger market means it'll overtake mobile titles in terms to time spent playing. The Take-Two boss said that he feels if people want to play these blockbuster titles, they're also open to buying an expensive bit of hardware, too.

"If you’re prepared to pay a premium price and you want a triple-A game, aren’t you also prepared to buy a console?" he asked.

"You’re making the assumption that somehow there was a limitation that doesn’t exist to buy the software, but does exist to buy the hardware. That’s, generally speaking, not the case. Again, I think it’s more likely than not that the big win will be in free-to-play, more so than in high-end expensive frontline titles. That’s not supporting us, in that view, because we put out a lot of high-end expensive titles, but I think that may be more relevant. I think that remains to be seen."

The exec does think, however, that there is a finite number of entertainment subscriptions that consumers are prepared to sign up for.

"I think the average American household wants to subscribe to two to three entertainment properties at a time, of all sorts," he said.

"There will be no winner takes all, and a bunch of losers, in linear programming as well as interactive. Interactive programming isn’t particularly well-suited to a subscription, because you typically only play a couple of titles at a time, and you play them for a long time. I’m not sure what subscriptions bring. But we’ll see, because obviously some people are going to launch them, and Game Pass is already out there."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.


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