Take-Two Interactive CEO thinks Google over-promised Stadia’s technology.
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two Interactive CEO, addressed the progress (or lack thereof) of Google Stadia during the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference. Zelnick explained that he still stands by the streaming service, but that “It’s not a game-changer.” Google Stadia launched in November 2019 as a streaming platform where its users could play a range of video games from any device that could access the internet and Google Chrome.
“The launch of stadia has been slow. I think there were some over-promising on what the technology could deliver and some consumer disappointment as a result.” Zelnick later expressed how it now seems clear “loads of people” don’t actually want to pay for the “interesting interactive entertainment.”
“The belief that streaming was going to be transformative was based on a view that there were loads of people who really want an interesting interactive entertainment, really wanted to pay for it, but just didn’t want to have a console. Ehh I’m not sure that turned out to be the case…”
The target audience turned out to be more niche than originally thought. Streaming services are not very attractive to players with an existing console or PC. While Stadia does still help companies reach a broader audience, there is still room for growth. Zelnick has said since before Stadia’s launch that streaming services are not revolutionary. The gaming world is already transitioning to a more open market already where PC gamers can access console titles most of the time after just a short wait. The idea that you do not need a console to play a game does not impress Zelnick.
“I think anytime you broaden distribution, you essentially broaden your audience, which is why we supported the release of stadia with three titles initially. And we’ll continue to support high quality streaming services as long as the business model makes sense… So I’m excited about the technology and what it can do, but I don’t believe it’s going to multiply our market by 10 times or 20 times. And if it does, it’ll be great.”
Zelnick still stands by Stadia and other streaming services that make sense for his Take-Two Interactive business model. While Stadia might not be a huge success yet, the idea that they are able to help reach a part of the market that Take-Two wasn’t able to before is still beneficial.
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Zelnick still believes that over time, streaming will work. Streaming services excite a lot of people and have the potential to expand gaming even further. Zelnick stays optimistic on the future of cloud gaming and states that streaming and subscription services will go any way the consumer desires.
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