Game Pass-Like Services Make Little Sense For Frontline Games, Says Take-Two CEO

While subscription-based services like Xbox Game Pass continue to grow popular, Take-Two Interactive remains reserved over the economics.

While subscription-based services like Xbox Game Pass continue to grow popular, parent company Take-Two Interactive remains a bit reserved over the economics.

During an earnings call (via PureXbox) for the first quarter of the 2022 financial year, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick suggested that a service like Xbox Game Pass “can make sense for a deep catalog” but not for “frontline games.”

Zelnick affirmed that the views of Take-Two Interactive on the matter “remain unchanged” because when flagship releases are concerned, “the economics are much more difficult to make sense of” if a subscription model is involved.

“Linear entertainment consumers consume something like 150 hours of programming a month,” added Zelnick. “That’s probably well over 100 different titles. In the case of interactive entertainment, consumers are consuming something like 45 hours a month, and that may be one, two, three, four titles, but it’s certainly not 100 titles.

“So from a consumer point of view, it’s not clear that a subscription model really makes sense for the bulk of consumers.”

Grand Theft Auto 5 will incidentally be leaving Xbox Game Pass in the coming weeks. The notion being that the acclaimed seven-year-old installment will qualify as a frontline product again when its enhanced editions release for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in the coming months.

It should be noted that Take-Two Interactive is not alone when it comes to weighing the economics of services like Xbox Game Pass. Last week, Shawn Layden, former president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, shared reservations about whether a service like Xbox Game Pass can recoup inflated development costs with its current number of subscribers.

He expressed concerns that it will be “very difficult for more than a handful of large players [companies] to compete” once current-generation games reach their peak in terms of development costs.

Saqib is a managing editor at who has halted regime changes, curbed demonic invasions, and averted at least one cosmic omnicide from the confines of his gaming chair. When not whipping his writers into ...