Is Take-Two Thinking of Subscription-Based GTA and BioShock?

Illustration for article titled Is Take-Two Thinking of Subscription-Based GTA and BioShock?

During today's talk at the BMO Capital Market's conference, Take-Two head honcho Strauss Zelnick seemed very up on the idea of downloadable content, micro-transactions and even... subscriptions. "Looking ahead, the biggest opportunity that we see for the industry as well as for us is downloadable content," he said. "With Grand Theft Auto IV we will be offering downloadable episodes that gamers can buy on Xbox Live after they've purchased the original title. We've also that next week we will be releasing add on content worldwide for Bioshock. And these are our first offerings for downloadable content. We're excited about the creative opportunity. We are very excited about the profit potential and we'll see how these things roll out. I think the entire industry is focused in this area." Zelnick went on to talk about the importance of microtransactions and how multiplayer gaming could perhaps be the solution to the growing used game market. In other words, make your online mulitplayer good enough and people won't want to sell the game back. And then he had to ruin it all by bringing up subscriptions and not, it seems, just for the typical massively multiplayer online PC game"The holy grail is taking a business, already a very large and successful business that's focused on packaged goods that you sell once and then are occasionally resold by others with new benefit to us, and turning that into a subscription business or a semi subscription business where we have an ongoing relationship with consumers, giving them products that they want," he said. "Who's better positioned to do that than the company that has the top franchises." But what games could you be thinking of doing that to Strauss? "It's our view that you won't be able to apply a subscription model to mid-tier titles," he said. "The triple-a titles that people really want to have that are really must have are in the best position for this business model." Please tell me he's not thinking of a subscription-based Grand Theft Auto or BioShock. Worse still, this makes two of them.


We'll see how well a subscription-based model works. I can tell them that I won't be buying into that.