Over the past five years, we have witnessed the emergence of a new concept – video games as a service. This means that the support for the developer of the new project does not stop after the product release. They launch multiplayer servers so that people can compete on the Internet.
In this review, you will learn about the pros and cons of the service model for games, which are also popular for both $1 deposit casinos and traditional manufacturing companies operating in the B2B sector, etc.
Single-User Games & Service Distribution Models
All the old rules about the consoles are that their life cycle was from five to eight years; the fact that the games “just worked” from the box has left. The accelerating sector of consumer electronics and the mass distribution of broadband Internet led us to a new era of chaotic innovation and the evolution of the business model. This means that the support for the developer of the new project does not stop. They launch multiplayer servers so that people can compete on the Internet.
Additional downloadable content (DLC) is also available in the form of new items, cards, and plot lines. They are sometimes free but more often are not. For the transition to this model, there is a clear reason – the cost of developing the main game product is growing faster than potential income. To create 1080p and 4K games, the teams are expanding, and the development cycle is increasing. The costs of maintaining online servers are also large, and one of the ways to pay for it is to ensure that players who enjoy the project remain and continue to invest in the game.
Thus, Destiny and The Division projects have become services. Although some gamers scold a new era of endless DLC, seasonal passes, and extensions, it works. Both projects support huge and profitable user databases even in this unstable time. Destiny has 30 million active players who bring $1 billion to Activision every quarter.
It is also worth noting that the possibility of creating and maintaining the community around one title is minimizing risks. However, the costs of renting and launching server networks, as well as support for the infrastructure of the matchmaking and lobby make this model inaccessible to small commands.
What Is Games As a Service?
Games as a service model date back to the days of Ultima Online. Another famous example is World of Warcraft: there was a hybrid approach when you had to buy a box with a game and then also pay for a subscription. Now, many free-to-play games contain a subscription inside: Black Desert Online, mobile Mario Kart, Lineage 2, Dota 2, Fortnite.
There are several platforms (Humble, Xbox Gold, and PS Plus) that give access to many games from the catalog at once. At the same time, PS Plus can be called hybrid because it opens up access to additional services and multiplayer. There are also additional services that companies sell for other systems: for example, GeForce NOW. You can connect your library of games and run them in the cloud. This is an additional subscription that provides not games but a service – you can run cool games on weak hardware.
The games as a service model have both pros and cons. So, let’s take a look at them.
- The main advantage of subscriptions for gaming companies is that it is a constant source of income – people just bring in money every month or year. For the same reason, EA releases FIFA, Call of Duty, and other similar titles every year. As a result, the same people buy games from the same series.
- Another major benefit of a subscription is that the company has a core of repeat users, and the developer is motivated to serve those users better. Because if you manage to sell the box, the game can be made better only after you release the next part in three to four years. And with a subscription, if you don’t serve the players well, they cancel it and leave.
In addition to advantages, subscriptions have also some disadvantages:
- Marketing usually does not like subscriptions and considers games as a service is bad: they have no seasonality and cannot be tied to the news feed – they work and work. Subscription games need addons for marketing. It is necessary to artificially create some kind of event that will make the audience pay attention to the project. With subscriptions, this is more difficult than with products, where the event is the product itself.
- Another major drawback of games as a service is that the crunch on subscriptions is tougher than on the product. The on-product crunch lasts a couple of months before release. On a subscription, if the work is not properly organized, it is potentially crunching all the time.
- Another big problem is that the audience can try, pay the first $10 and unsubscribe. People can fall off before the product pays off for them. If the game can be completed in a month, then why should people renew their subscription?
- The next notable problem is that people still buy a lot of things in retail, and it is difficult to sell subscriptions there. In addition, not all countries have automatic payment system services (for example, PayPal), so it is simply difficult for users to set up payment for a subscription.
It is just obvious that the games as a service model may affect the gaming industry as a whole in the future. Singles are likely to get shorter so that companies can include many games in their subscriptions at once. This could give users the feeling that the subscription is worth the price. But not necessarily everything will happen this way – it all depends on gaming companies and their vision.