During a financial update with investors on November 4, CEO Strauss Zelnick said that he believes consumers currently pay less than what the company’s games are actually worth. “We deliver the highest quality experiences in the business, and we charge much less for them than we believe they are worth to consumers,” he said, per PC Gamer.
The Take-Two CEO’s comment was in response to a question about the rise of free-to-play games, such as Activision’s Call Of Duty: Warzone, and whether the company was considering a similar move. Zelnick then noted that the company already provides such a service through its “free” online components of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2.
“We deliver, typically, an ongoing component that is free. And that is already a great deal of value. Any monetization is of course totally optional,” he said. Zelnick also pointed out that GTA Online will also be free-to-play for “about three months” when it launches on the PlayStation 5.
“So, as you can see, we’re open-minded about our business model, and I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that, at some point, certain experiences can become free as a matter of the entry point,” he added.
Zelnick’s statement echoes comments he made earlier this year, where he defended Take-Two’s decision to increase prices for next-gen games. “The bottom line is that we haven’t seen a front-line price increase for nearly 15 years, and production costs have gone up 200 to 300 per cent,” he said at the time.
During the call, Zelnick also spoke on the viability of subscription services, such as the Xbox Game Pass and EA Play, and the future of such platforms. He said that he is “highly skeptical that subscriptions will be the only way or primary way that interactive entertainment is distributed” in the future, according to PC Gamer.
“That’s because of the way people consume it, and the price point for owning a title, which is very reasonable and very low, actually, on a per-hour basis,” Zelnick added. “So I think it’s unlikely that subscriptions supplant frontline video game sales as the primary business model.”
Last month, the general manager of games marketing at Xbox, Aaron Greenburg, described the issue of price increases for next-gen as “super complex”, stating that games no longer launch at a uniform price as in the “old days”.