Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said during the company's financial update today that he is "highly skeptical that subscriptions will be the only way or primary way" that consumers will access videogames in the future. Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson, speaking during an investors call of his own today, shared a very different perspective, saying the company is focused on expanding its EA Play subscription service as much as it can.
"Our EA Play service is the most successful multiplatform subscription in the industry. With the addition of our subscription on PS4 and Steam, we've reached more than 6.5 million paid subscribers," Wilson said. "EA Play is now set to go live on Microsoft Game Pass in a few days, and we believe that we have the opportunity to double our subscriber base over the next 12 months."
Wilson said Electronic Arts views the partnership as a way to "build an access point for EA Play subscriptions on the Microsoft platform," which is more impactful for the company than simply adding its individual games to Xbox Game Pass.
"This is actually entitlement to the EA Play subscription, and as a result of that relationship that we have with those players who make those subscriptions, that will be the same as if we sold it outside the platform," he said. "So you'll continue to see us think about our subscription broadly across platforms, and making it available to any player, wherever they want, in any way they need, with as little friction as possible."
EA Play is coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC in December, and while it will be offered at no extra cost to subscribers, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen made it clear that the deal wasn't a freebie for Microsoft. He didn't offer any specifics, but said, "You can imagine that Microsoft wanted us to be part of their subscription, we thought it was a great opportunity, and there's a positive economic impact on that."
"The real goal is, how do we grow our subscription, and also help Microsoft grow their subscription?" Jorgensen said. "This is a great partnership, and we're really looking—think about it as, we're in the very early days of the industry on subscriptions for games, and we're doing everything possible to help consumers understand why it is a great potential for them to either be introduced to new games, play the games they love, or play games for a great value."
"We don't do anything for free. We and Microsoft have figured out the right way to make the economics work for both of us."