- October 18, 2006
Couchpotato spotted an opinion piece about live-service-models for games on Gamesindustry:
More information.The "live service" model is all played out | Opinion
Players are voting with their wallets - like any other industry trend or fad, live service games have seen their moment pass; companies able to pivot away should do so fast
We all have a pretty intuitive understanding of the anatomy of a trend in game design. A very successful title is followed by a wave of games which copy key aspects of its design - some taking inspiration while innovating successfully on the formula, others rather more shamelessly seeking to cash in by copying anything that's not nailed down (or protected by intellectual copyright law).
That's what's happening right now with "live service" games, a slightly nebulous term that's come to be understood as encompassing a specific set of monetisation models (battle passes, cosmetic microtransactions, etc.) applied to a loosely defined set of online multiplayer games (either competitive or cooperative) with a match-based structure.
Loot shooters, extraction shooters, battle royale games: there are a variety of game design paradigms at play in the "live service" arena, but the monetisation design paradigm across them remains relatively consistent.
In the space of just a few years, that's a paradigm that's gone from being on top of the world - incredibly successful and broadly welcomed by players as a way to ensure ongoing support for their favourite titles, as well as being more transparent and player-friendly (in theory) than the "pay-to-win" style microtransactions that were public enemy number one at the time - to being for all intents and purposes an epithet.
In 2024, calling your game "live service" might as well be tantamount to telling players it's going to creep into their house at night and kill their dog. The online response to stylish, promising-looking game trailers at awards shows and announcement livestreams notably tanks at the point when players figure out that it's going to be a live service title. Tastes have shifted dramatically, and many publishers and developers have been caught on the hop.
- Oct 18, 2006