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Subscription services unlikely to replace traditional game sales, says WBIE

Subscription services unlikely to replace traditional game sales, says WBIE

June 21, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

"I’d be careful about the notion that streaming will automatically bring the entire business to a subscription model."

- David Haddad discusses recent shifts toward subscription in video games, and how those differ from other industries.

Both cloud-based gaming services and subscription services are rising to the forefront of the game industry all at once, but Warner. Bros Interactive Entertainment president David Haddad isn’t sold on the idea that streaming will make subscription models a necessity.

Speaking to VentureBeat, Haddad explained that streaming services have brought about major shifts toward subscription services in other industries, but that he doesn’t necessarily believe the same thing will be true for video games.

“I just think there’s a lot of differences compared to other forms of media,” Haddad tells VentureBeat.

One of those key differences, and why he says traditional game sales won’t be stomped out by subscriptions, is the differences in how individuals play, and how many games they typically burn through a year.

“I do think that we’ve proven that a transactional business, as we call it, where you pay a premium price for an experience, where gamers can have 30, 40, 100 hours of play–they’ll pay a premium price for that. That’s great for us. We have a history of that transactional business,” says Haddad. “There are gamers that want to consume way more than two or three games a year, which is sort of an average right now. There may be people that like the consumption pattern of having a subscription so that they can try more games and play more games.”

“But the behavior today is actually fairly concentrated on players spending most of their time in a handful of games that they carefully pick and that are able to secure a premium price in the market. I think it’ll be a mixture of both.”

Streaming and subscription services are just one part of the larger interview VentureBeat had with Haddad at E3. The rest of that conversation, including talks about the annual show itself and the company's recent venture into AR, can be found here

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