Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick isn’t keen on day one Game Pass launches

Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, said that from a business perspective, launching new titles on day one through Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service, does not make sense. 

During Take-Two’s recent quarterly earnings report, Zelnick talked about subscription services, like Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus, where he questioned if it was the right choice to launch first party games on day one. It was a response to how Game Pass is “nearing saturation” on consoles, a comment that Xbox Gaming CEO, Phil Spencer, made recently at the Wall Street Journal Tech show. 

“I think the second area of skepticism was whether it made sense, and this is a rhetorical question because I think the answer is no. To offer frontline titles day and date with titles on a subscription service, I don’t think that ever made sense.”

“I still don’t think it makes sense. And I believe that it’s now becoming obvious that it doesn’t make sense. It’s just a lost opportunity for the publisher. So, I wouldn’t want to speak for my friend, Phil [Spencer], but our views remain unchanged.”

Game Pass has been progressing well enough throughout the years that it has become quite the popular option for those looking into playing games but don’t have the library for it. Part of the appeal for those who do get into the subscription service has been the Day One launch titles. It was a bold move coming from Xbox, but it was also enough of a push to get people into Xbox gaming. 

From a gaming perspective, it’s amazing. It made it so people who are even remotely curious about new genres can try them out within the subscription. However, this wasn’t the case when you look at it from a business standpoint. When Xbox started launching titles on Day One through Xbox Game Pass, many gaming fans looked to Sony and thought they would do the same thing, but this was not the case. 

Sony believes that launching AAA titles on day one through a subscription service would require them to reduce the investments needed to produce high quality first-party games, and that in turn would diminish the quality of the games their studios make. The Take-Two CEO echoes that notion despite being on good terms with Xbox.

Strauss Zelnick Game Pass
Read Dead Redemption 2

That being said, it just means that you won’t see any Take-Two games that launch Day One on Xbox Game Pass for the time being. That doesn’t mean that their games won’t be released on the subscription service after some time, which they have. And despite how much of a compromise it was to do Day One launches on Xbox Game Pass, it works for Microsoft.